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Neil Compton Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MC 1091

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes both Compton's personal and professional materials. These include medical log books, calendars, correspondence, clippings, and various memorabilia relating to his past as a student of Bentonville High School, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. Also included are drafts and notes Compton used in writing his books.

The collection contains materials relating to Compton's activities as a conservationist and outdoor photographer. Conservation materials include extensive files relating to the activities of the Ozark Society, especially its campaign to save the Buffalo River. Also included are materials concerning the Sierra Club, the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club, and the Southwest Regional Advisory Committee of the National Park Service. The collection includes correspondence exchanged between Compton and other conservationists, including folk singer Jimmy Driftwood and newspaper columnist Ernie Deane, and correspondence with sympathetic politicians such as Orval Faubus and John Paul Hammerschmidt.

The collection also contains materials relating to the Benton County Historical Association, as well as clippings and other materials relating to local history.

The collection includes an extensive collection of photographs, slides and negatives, as well as films and video tapes detailing the activities of the Ozark Society. The video tapes include footage of the Justice Douglas float and the Sam Walton family. The collection includes audio tapes used in transcribing The Battle for the Buffalo. The collection also includes framed items, plaques, and certificates. Finally, the collection contains clippings of the Marshall Mountain Wave from 1960-1966 not preserved elsewhere.





Appendix: Illustrations from The Battle for the Buffalo River



The following lists photographic prints of illustrations in The Battle for the Buffalo River available in Series 3, Subseries 1 and 2. For several of the illustrations, prints are not available. However, the original negatives may still be available in Series 3, Subseries 8; corresponding negatives are not listed. Also, several images came from other collections available in the Special Collections Department; these are noted as such.

1. Dust Jacket--See Box 25, Folder 2, Image 30

2. Title Page--See Box 33, Folder 6, Image 1629

3. Dedication Page, "Laurene Compton . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 3, Image 61

4. p.5 "Powersite Dam . . ." (NA)

5. p.10 "Clyde T. Ellis . . . " (For original, see Clyde T. Ellis Papers (MS E15 258, 258 A-E Ellis), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.)

6. p.13 "Thomas Shiras . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 161

7. p.15 "An engineering extravaganza . . ." (NA)

8. p.19 "Congressman Jim Trimble . . ." (For original, see James W. Trimble Family Papers (MC 557), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.)

9. p. 21 "The concrete encasement . . ." (NA)

10. p. 33 "The Bill Henderson cabin . . ." (NA)

11. p. 36 "Neil Compton . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 5, Image 84

12. p. 36 "Neil Compton at Dillard's Ferry" (NA)

13. p. 39 "The Hale Hayden barn . . ."--See Box 32, Folder 21, Image 1485

14. p. 43 "Dick Murray . . ." (NA)

15. p. 46 "Glen Avantus (Bud) Green . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 150

16. p. 50 "Kenneth L. Smith . . ." (NA)

17. p. 51 "Harold Alexander . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 140

18. p. 54 "Gus Albright . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 141

19. p. 57 "Senator J. William Fulbright . . ." (For original, see the J. William Fulbright Papers (MS/F956/144), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.)

20. p. 69 "James R. Tudor . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 164

21. p. 80 "Prof. Sam Dellinger . . ." (For original, see Picture Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville)

22. p. 81 "Gene Rush . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 156

23. p. 98 "The Justice William O. Douglas party . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 2, Image 1121

24. p. 98 "Justice Douglas . . ." (NA)

25. p. 99 "Evangeline Archer . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 2, Image 1122

26. p. 99 "Justice Douglas going . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 2, Image 1142

27. p. 118 "Sam Walton . . ." (NA)

28. p. 134 "Udall's 'Gem'. . ." (NA)

29. p. 147 "Craig Rosborough . . ." (NA)

30. p. 154 "Bernard Campbell . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 16, Image 1296

31. p. 156 "Charley and Barbara Black" (NA)

32. p. 169 "William Mallory Johnston . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 152

33. p. 170 "The memorial plaque . . ."--See Box 32, Folder 24, Image 1511

34. p. 173 "Area comparison map . . ."--See Box 27, Folder 15, Image 448

35. p. 191 "Clayton Little . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 6, Image 1210

36. p. 196 "Ed Freeman III . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 4, Image 1166

37. p. 201 "Ben Ferrier . . ." (NA)

38. p. 206 "Harry Pearson . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 13, Image 869

39. p. 213 "Trees felled . . ." (NA)

40. p. 221 "Joe and Puck Acuff . . ." (NA)

41. p. 224 "Thomas Hart Benton . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 143

42. p. 243 "Neil Compton . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 11, Image 132

43. p. 250 "Orval Faubus . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 11, Image 128

44. p. 254 "Laurene Compton . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 16, Image 904

45. p. 256 "The great arch . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 14, Image 870

46. p. 256 "Wall drapes . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 15, Image 895

47. p. 257 "The Tunnel Cave exit . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 15, Image 890

48. p. 257 "The Tunnel Cave waterfall . . ."--See Box 29, Folder 15, Image 886

49. p. 262 "John Heuston . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 16, Image 1294

50. p. 275 "Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 275

51. p.306 "Groundbreaking for Ozark Dam" (For original, see James W. Trimble Family Papers)

52. p. 331 "Tired tire collectors . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 6, Image 1193

53. p. 332 "The great tire fire . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 7, Image 1229

54. p. 332 "The Leviathan . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 6, Image 1205

55. p. 333 "The first-place winners . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 6, Image 1201

56. p. 333 "Maxine Clark . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 7, Image 1211

57. p. 337 "A shoe roast . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 5, Image 1176

58. p. 338 "Twin Falls . . ."--See Box 32, Folder 8, Image 1401

59. p. 344 "The 'pipe organ' bluff . . ."--See Box 33, Folder 20, Image 1772

60. p. 348 "The 'Lodge' . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 20, Image 1324

61. p. 349 "One of the fishing lakes . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 20, Image 1329

62. p. 352 "Joe Clark . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 17, Image 1308

63. p. 353 "The coral head . . ."--See Box 30, Folder 12, Image 1040

64. p. 357 "Put-in activity . . ."--See Box 31, folder 5, Image 1180

65. p. 374 "Formerly an arcaded mountain road . . ."--See Box 27, Folder 3, Image 342

66. p. 375 "The bed of the Buffalo River . . ."--See Box 27, Folder 4, Image 377

67. p. 375 "Part of a two-mile long landslide . . ." (NA)

68. p. 377 "Dick Murray . . ." (NA)

69. p. 385 "Ozark Society backpackers . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 9, Image 1243

70. p. 389 "Dr. Joe Nix . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 17, Image 1309

71. p. 390 "The DeGray earth-fill . . ." (NA)

72. p. 390 "The Caddo River exiting . . ." (NA)

73. p. 391 "The intake tower . . ."--See Box 28, Folder 12, Image 619

74. p.401 "Orphea Duty . . ." (NA)

75. p. 409 "Remains of the great sweet gum . . ."--See Box 33, Folder 6, Image 1629

76. p. 410 "The show barn . . ."--See Box 33, Folder 6, Image 1260

77. p. 410 "The 'channelized' Buffalo . . ."--See Box 33, Folder 6, Image 1619

78. p. 411 "The big beech root . . ."--See Box 33, Folder 6, Image 1627

79. p. 422 "Dr. Fran James . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 153

80. p. 453 "The Jubilee Bus loading . . ." (NA)

81. p. 459 "Joe and Maxine Clark . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 12, Image 1259

82. p. 460 "Harold Alexander . . ."--See Box 31, Folder 12, Image 1263

83. p. 470 "Don Winfrey . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 166

84. p. 470 "David Strickland . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 162

85. p. 470 "Jim Schermerhorn . . ." (NA)

86. p. 470 "Dr. Douglas James . . ." (NA)

87. p. 470 "L.B. Cook . . ."--See Box 25, Folder 13, Image 146

Dates

  • Creation: 1914-1998

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Literary works can be copied for single, scholarly purposes only. Photographs can be reproduced only with permission of the head of Special Collections. Items bearing the signatures of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton have been removed to the vault. Photocopies of these items are included in the collection. To protect patients' privacy, all medicals records are restricted for 75 years from the date of their creation.

No Interlibrary Loan. Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Neil Ernest Compton was born on August 1, 1912, in Falling Springs Flats in Benton County, the son of David Compton and Ida Wilmouth. He attended Bentonville public schools, and in 1935 completed degrees in zoology and geology at the University of Arkansas. He married Laurene Putman in 1935; they had three children. He enrolled at the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock, graduating in 1939. His first job after completing medical school was as a county health officer in Washington and Bradley counties. He served in the United States Navy's medical corps during World War II, being stationed in Guadalcanal. After the war he returned to Benton County, where he opened a practice specializing in gynecology and obstetrics.

Compton possessed a lifelong passion for exploring and photographing the outdoors. He especially loved the Buffalo River basin area in the Ozark region in northwest Arkansas. But in 1956 the basin was threatened with destruction when the United States Army Corps of Engineers renewed plans to build dams on the Buffalo River at Gilbert and Lone Rock. Protests by conservationists and fishermen resulted in a survey by a team from the National Park Service in October 1961 to determine if the river warranted protection as part of the National Park System. In May, 1962, Harold and Margaret Hedges of the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club of Kansas City, Missouri, arranged for United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a noted conservationist, to float the Buffalo River. Following the float, a meeting on the University of Arkansas campus on May 24, 1962, resulted in the formation of the Ozark Society, Inc., To Save the Buffalo River. Compton was elected its president. The Ozark Society launched a campaign to prevent the damming of the river which included appealing to elected officials, inviting journalists on float trips, and river cleanups. The campaign realized success when Congress passed legislation which was signed by President Richard Nixon on March 1, 1972, to create the Buffalo National River. The legislation gave the river the unique designation of the nation's first national river.

Compton's enthusiasm for the outdoors was supplemented by his interest in local history. He served as president of the Benton County Historical Association in the 1970s. Compton retired from medical practice in 1976. In 1982 his first book, The High Ozarks: A Vision of Eden; was published. This was followed in 1992 by The Battle for the Buffalo River and The Buffalo River in Black and White in 1997.

His activities as a leading citizen and conservationist earned him numerous accolades. In 1963 he received the American Motors Corporation Conservation Award. The University of Arkansas awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1986, and in 1987 the National Park Service named him an honorary park ranger. In 1990 he received the first annual Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award awarded by Congress. That year he also became the first recipient of the University of Arkansas Alumni Community Service Award. In 1992 he received the National Wildlife Federation Achievement Award and was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Sportsman's Hall of Fame. In 1993 the Arkansas State Library Association honored him with its Arkansiana Award. In 1996 the Arkansas League of Women Voters presented him with the Horizon Award. He received the Ageless Hero Award for Community Service in 1998. Compton died on February 10, 1999.

Extent

94.33 Linear Feet (92 boxes, 1 oversize item, 1 oversize folder, and 3 tubes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by subject matter and medium.

  1. Series 1. Neil Compton: Personal and Professional Materials
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. Personal Materials
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. Monthly Calendars
  4. Series 1. Subseries 3. Physician's Daily Log Books
  5. Series 1. Subseries 4. Correspondence
  6. Series 1. Subseries 5. Publications
  7. Series 2. Northwest Arkansas: Conservation and History
  8. Series 2. Subseries 1. Conservation
  9. Series 2. Subseries 2. Northwest Arkansas, Historic Preservation, and Other Topics
  10. Series 3. Images
  11. Series 3. Subseries 1. Neil Compton and Others
  12. Series 3. Subseries 2. The Ozark Society and Natural Scenes
  13. Series 3. Subseries 3. Shrubs, Trees, and Other Plants
  14. Series 3. Subseries 4. Unidentified Photographs
  15. Series 3. Subseries 5. Memorial Service Exhibit
  16. Series 3. Subseries 6. Matted Photographs
  17. Series 3. Subseries 7. Slides
  18. Series 3. Subseries 8. Negatives
  19. Series 4. Video and Audio Recordings
  20. Series 4. Subseries 1. Video Recordings and Films
  21. Series 4. Subseries 2. Audio Recordings
  22. Series 5. Artifacts, Framed Items and Plaques
  23. Series 6. Oversize Materials

Acquisition Information

The Neil Compton Papers were donated to the University of Arkansas Libraries by the children of Neil Compton, Edra Compton Diaz, Bill David Compton, and Ellen Compton, on March 20, 2000.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed in 2000. Series 4, Subseries 1 (Video Recordings and Films) was reprocessed by Katrina Windon in August 2021 to incorporate remastered versions of Film Reel 11 and to clarify relationships between items in the subseries.

Source

Subject

Title
Neil Compton Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Todd Lewis
Date
2000
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444