Samuel Dickinson

The below obituary is from the December 14th Hope Star. Sam Dickenson was a legend in Arkansas history and archeological circles…I never got the opportunity to meet him, but I have heard lots of stories….He published several articles with Sam Dellinger in the 1930s and depending who you ask either one “Sam” or the other was “the Father of Arkansas Archeology.” Although Dellinger is home likely to be credited by professionals, Dickenson was a home-grown archeologist (unlike Dellinger). He taught history and Spanish at SAU back in when is was “Magnolia A&M”…and even directed the National Youth Administration (the NYA was a WPA-like program for the youth) project to build the Greek Theater still standing on SAU’s campus (It’s recently been put on the National Register of Historic Places).

PRESCOTT–Samuel Dorris Dickinson, 95, of Prescott, died Friday, November 30, 2007, at a Prescott care and rehab center. He was born February 26, 1912, in Prescott, to Sam P. and Bessie Sue Litton Dickinson. He studied American archaeology, and for several years he was engaged in that profession. He taught at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. He was in charge of the University of Arkansas’s WPA archaeological laboratory. Then, he turned to journalism and for a total of 28 years, he held the position of associate editor to the Little Rock Arkansas Gazette, the Little Rock Arkansas Democrat, and the Shreveport Journal. In retirement he continued to contribute to archaeological, historical, folklore, and literacy journals, as well as to newspapers and popular magazines. He translated colonial French and Spanish accounts of Louisiana and Arkansas. He published six books and his analysis of Gombo, the African-French dialect spoken by Louisiana slaves, was one of the very few ever published on that subject. Both the Arkansas Preservation Alliance and the Arkansas Historical Association gave him lifetime achievement awards. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He has been called the ‘Father of Arkansas Archaeology’ because his archeological research was the first done in a scientific manner in this state.

Survivors include his caregiver and friend, Ronnie Vandiver, of Prescott. Memorial services will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, December 15, at Brazzel/Cornish Funeral Home Chapel in Prescott, with Mr. Ed Talley officiating. Arrangements are by Brazzel/Cornish Funeral Home in Prescott. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cammie Henry Room, Eugene Watson Library, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Natchitoches; Riley-Hickingbotham Library, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia; the First Methodist Church of Prescott, or the Old Washington Foundation, Washington, Arkansas.

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Categories: archeology, history, post


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