Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Iris DeMent in Concert

Saturday, May 10, 7 p.m.
CALS Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Avenue
Tickets: $30

Iris DeMent, born in Paragould, Arkansas, and the last of 14 children, is a contemporary folk singer and songwriter country legend Merle Haggard calls "the best singer I’ve ever heard." Influenced by gospel and country music, DeMent released her first album in 1992 and earned a Grammy nomination for her second album, My Life, in 1994. Her work is known for addressing political and personal themes, and her songs have been covered by artists such as David Byrne, Natalie Merchant, and Merle Haggard.

DeMent’s newest album is Sing the Delta. She says of the Arkansas Delta "A lot of what I had stamped on me — musically, Sunday-dinner-wise, religion, and everything else — was a direct outgrowth of that." The album, described by Rolling Stone as a collection of "artisanal songs of love and doubt" and by the Boston Globe as "a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power," has received positive reviews since its release in 2012. Slant Magazine has stated, "DeMent’s fully invested performances are lived-in and soulful, heightening the intensity of the experiences she’s singing about. Over the course of Sing the Delta, DeMent confesses, wails, and testifies, and there’s simply no one else in popular music who tells their truths with such urgency or clarity."

DeMent will perform at the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Ron Robinson Theater on Saturday, May 10, at 7 p.m. The theater is accessible from the Main Library parking lot, 100 Rock Street. Tickets, which are general admission, may be purchased for $30 online or from Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Avenue. The galleries are open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Collection: Maxwell Lyons Sr. Papers

The Maxwell Lyons Sr. papers are now available to the public through the Arkansas Studies Institute research room. This collection contains documents related to the military service of Maxwell J. Lyons Sr., including numerous letters written by Lyons during World War I. The collection also includes other related correspondence and military documents, several photographs, and a scrapbook.

Maxwell Joseph Lyons was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 30, 1896. After the outbreak of World War I, he left Princeton University to enlist in the Army, but was turned away twice for being overweight for his height. He then tried to enlist in the National Guard with the same result before moving on the U.S. Marine Corps. Although he faced the same weight regulations with the USMC, the examining physician did not believe his weight should stop Lyons from service and encouraged him to continue to push for acceptance. Eventually, Lyons traveled to Washington D.C. and sought the help of Congressman Henderson M. Jacoway to reach the military officials. In December 1917, he was finally successful. Soon after enlisting, Lyons was sent to France with the 6th Marines. He received the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as the Croix de Guerre and Fors a Guerre from France. After the armistice was signed, Lyons remained in Germany with the Army of Occupation before returning to the United States in April 1919.

Lyons was president of the Lyons Machinery Company, a family business. He was involved with the Marine Corps League and served as state commandant during World War II. He died in October 1978 in Little Rock.

Most of the correspondence in this collection is from Maxwell Lyons while he was stationed in France and Germany to his family in Little Rock. Maxwell writes of the War and his conditions, as well as of his impressions of Europe and the local people. Other correspondence in the collection of note is a series of letters from Joseph Lyons (Maxwell’s father) seeking a speedy discharge of his son due to the health of a family member. The collection also contains eight editions from April 1919, of "The Charleston Daily Roll," a newspaper printed at sea on USS Charleston.

The finding aid for the Maxwell Lyons Sr. Papers can be accessed online or in the research room at the Arkansas Studies Institute. Correspondence and photos from the collection are available online through Arkansas and the Great War.


Friday, April 18, 2014

New entries on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Check out what's new on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas:

Morgan (Pulaski County)
Ulm (Prairie County)
Woodson (Pulaski County)
Zinc (Boone County)


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