The Dee Brown Collection was generously donated to the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas in 2011 by Brown’s daughter, Linda L. Brown. The expansive collection contains the literary and personal records of Dee Brown, best known as the author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The bulk of this collection is related to Brown’s published and unpublished books, articles, and short stories which include preliminary research, notes, holograph and typewriter drafts, and galleys associated with these works.
CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies initiated this project through a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and its legacy half a century later.
Born in Alberta, Louisiana, librarian and author Dorris Alexander (Dee) Brown lived most of his childhood and retirement years in Arkansas. In 1942, Brown published his first book, Wave High the Banner: A Novel Based on the Life of Davy Crockett, then co-authored three others after being drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, Brown received his Master of Library Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he was the librarian at the College of Agriculture until his retirement in 1972. During this period, Brown prolifically published books including his best-selling non-fiction work, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970). Brown continued writing well into his retirement publishing his last book, Way To Bright Star (1998), at the age of ninety. Brown died on December 12, 2002 at his home in Little Rock, Arkansas; a memorial service was held at CALS Main Library.
Described by the OCLC as an “eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century,” Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee recounts the history of Native Americans and American expansion into the West from a critical perspective that sheds light on the atrocities waged by the United States government during this period. This groundbreaking book was one of the first to consider this period of history from the Native American point of view. Published in 1970, the book fell within the midst of both the growing American Indian Movement and Vietnam War, each having considerable impacts on the book and its reception.
Through the Fall of 2020, CALS Roberts Library at Library Square hosted several events in tandem with this project to bring the celebration of Dee Brown and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee to the public. These included an exhibition of contemporary ledger art from the J. W. Wiggins Native American Art Collection at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and Legacies and Lunch talks with Elliott West and Nicholas Proctor.
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