Since Arkansas’s creation as an independent territory in 1819, its legislature has officially designated a wide assortment of symbols. Some of these refer to economic mainstays while others attest to the aspirations of those who saw a bright future for their extensive and varied community. This volume’s essays examine each of Arkansas’s officially designated symbols, outlining their genesis, their significance at the time of their adoption, and their place in modern Arkansas. Combining political narratives, natural history, and the occasional “shaggy dog” story, Ware makes a case for considering the symbols as useful keys to understanding both the Arkansas that has been and the one it hopes to be.
During the 2017 session, the Arkansas Legislative Assembly expanded the state’s complement of official state symbols. The second edition of this statewide bestseller includes an additional chapter on Arkansas’s newest symbol: the state dinosaur, Arkansaurus fridayi.
In It’s Official!, David Ware makes a case for considering the symbols as useful keys to understanding both the Arkansas that has been and the one it hopes to be.
About the Author
DAVID WARE has served as historian of the Arkansas State Capitol since 2001. He is a native of the District of Columbia, grew up in Nebraska and Wyoming, and earned his PhD in American history from Arizona State University. His career has included both academic and public history, as well as busking and an extended foray in the oil exploration business. He and his wife and daughter live in Little Rock, Arkansas.