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UAFS Professor Authors Book on Fort Smith

UAFS Professor Authors Book on Fort Smith (Posted: November 25, 2013)

Fort Smith's rich history is detailed in a book released Nov. 11 by a University of Arkansas - Fort Smith faculty member.

Kevin Jones of Fort Smith, assistant professor of English education at UAFS, is the author of "Fort Smith: Images of America," which was published by Arcadia Publishing. The 128-page book chronicles a town which has seen its fair share of history, including Civil War skirmishes, a judge notorious for hanging criminals and a diverse set of family backgrounds.

Jones said the book "helps share and appreciate the unique past of the area with current and future generations."

"Some historical events within the book include a review of Civil War actions in and around Fort Smith, the establishment of the Choctaw Congress and its connections to Fort Smith, the origins of the Fort Smith Symphony and the Southwestern Studio of Musical Art, stories behind the electric and water companies, and much more."

The book features over 150 vintage photographs from the nineteenth century all the way to the 1970s, and each photo is coupled with a brief narrative ranging from little-known facts and forgotten tales to new information on the area.

The book is a result of nine months of time-consuming research that Jones conducted at several locations, including the Boreham Library at UAFS, the Fort Smith Museum of History and the Chamber of Commerce.

"In the beginning, I had to find out what was available, then I had to find photos I could get copyrights for, then I had to corroborate the backstories on all the photographs – all of that took a long time," he said. "So it's a heavily-researched book which uses these photos and some brief text to help people appreciate the history of the area."

Few people appreciate the town's history more than Jones, however, who has now written two books on Fort Smith. The first, simply titled "Fort Smith," depicts the history of the city through approximately 200 postcards.

Jones said he has been interested in the town's history since he moved here.

"I've always loved history since grade school, and my parents and grandparents helped to foster a love for the subject as well. When I moved down here, my mother-in-law kept telling me stories of this area, and I was fascinated by it," he said. "Through her interest, I began working on my first book, and I kept finding great little stories about the area that made me want to learn more."

While "Fort Smith: Images of America" shares some similarities with his first book, Jones said his second work is not a retelling of his first.

"I think some people might be confused that it's a similar title to my first book, but 'Fort Smith: Images of America' is more like the second volume," he said. "It's different stories on different areas."

"I hope these books show people that Fort Smith has more to it than people might think and that every person has a unique story," he added.

Jones will speak to the community about Fort Smith's history as well, with a 2 p.m. Jan. 26 lecture at the Clayton House, 514 North 6th St. The lecture will cover both his books on Fort Smith, and it is free and open to the public.

Jones earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Missouri State University and his doctorate from the University of Arkansas. He began teaching part time in Fort Smith in 2004 while still teaching high school in Roland, Okla., and has been teaching full time at UAFS since 2007.

The book retails for $21.99 and is available by visiting the Arcadia Publishing website at For more information, contact Jones at 479-788-7429 or

Article by: John Post, Public Relations Assistant

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