Antiquarian Finds History Where One Might Least Expect It

Antiquarian Finds History Where One Might Least Expect It

“Who would have thought that such colorful commentary on Arkansas’ doctors could be found in an insurance report?” muses Tim Nutt.

For that matter, who would have thought that someone would find that report in the archives of the Historical Research Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences? But Nutt, hired in 2015 as director of the Research Center, did — and that’s no surprise knowing him.

For the 10 previous years, Nutt was employed at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, first as head of manuscripts and most recently as the head of Special Collections. He was the founding deputy curator of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock, as well as the founding managing editor and staff historian of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Also, he’s immediate past president of the Arkansas Historical Association and a certified archivist.

“I have always had an interest in our state’s history — dating back to my childhood — and love learning about Arkansas’ history as much as I love presenting the history,” he says simply.

So in getting to know the holdings at Little Rock’s UAMS Historical Research Center, Nutt stumbled upon a report written by a Dr. W.A. Jaquith in 1906. An examiner with the Prudential Insurance Co., Jaquith traveled through Arkansas documenting the fitness of the company doctors.

“I was struck by [his report’s] candid nature, its descriptions of Arkansas towns in the early 20th century, and its uniqueness in Arkansas narratives,” says Nutt. “His report does not, unfortunately, provide information on the general state of health care during the time … but he does present his opinions of the doctors in a blunt and matter-of-fact style. He described one doctor in Siloam Springs as a ‘reformed morphine fiend’ and noted that the doctors in Hiwasse and Centerton would not ‘set the world on fire.’”

Nutt will speak Nov. 14 at the Shiloh Museum, reminding his audience “Arkansas history can be found in the unlikeliest of sources” and “it’s important to preserve our state’s history no matter where it’s found.”



Sandwiched In:

‘Dr. W.A. Jaquith & His 1906 Tour of the Ozarks’

WHEN — Noon Nov. 14

WHERE — Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale

COST — Free

INFO — 750-8165 or

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