ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 32(Winter 1973)

James Harris Atkinson, 1888-1973

By HUGH PARK*

Van Buren

 

WITH DEEP SORROW AND MUCH REGRET, THIS ISSUE OF THE Arkansas Historical Quarterly records the passing of James Harris Atkinson, beloved man of history in Arkansas, whose imprint upon the mind and soul of people who love this state is so far reaching that it is beyond calculation.

J.H. Atkinson was a man born in humble surroundings on the rural frontier of a state not yet recovered from the ravages of a civil war that tore asunder its people, and the nation. He lived a full and complete, a satisfying life of four score and five years, then in a manner in keeping with the life he had pursued in quiet, calm, self-assurance, Mr. Atkinson slipped out into eternity as the sun was sinking over the state's biggest city in the late afternoon of mid-September.

J.H. Atkinson had seen his beloved native state rise from from the insecurity of a phobia in public feeling of inferiority to take its place as a standard bearer of the nation. Mr. Atkinson did not stand on the sidelines and watch the parade. He grabbed the banner of history and proudly marched in the procession. At the same time, he effaced his own image, though his enthusiasm for research, to learn, to write, and to teach, propelled him to the forefront of the history movement in Arkansas.

"To that hardy handful who labor in the sparse but

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*The editor is grateful to Mr. Park for this remembrance of J. H. Atkinson. This is a case of one good, loyal, supporter of the Arkansas Historical Association, writing about another, and the Association will always be grateful to them both.