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The Boy from Altheimer

From the Depression to the Boardroom

William H. Bowen, Bill Clinton

Publication Year: 2006

Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. ix

Eventually, Bill Bowen gave me something else, too: the chance to run for president. Although Bill had worked with me for years, he had never joined my administration until 1991, when I decided to run for president. Bill agreed to become my chief of staff, leaving Commercial National Bank and turning...

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pp. xi-xiii

Why did I write this book? The idea came into being in the office of U.S. Tax Court Judge Clarence V. Opper in the summer of 1951 in Washington, D.C. I was one of two law clerks employed by him; the other was Arnold Hoffman of New York City. Arnold was a first-generation American. His parents...

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1. The Boy from Altheimer

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pp. 1-20

I am a member of that generation, but I am uncomfortable in thinking of it as the “greatest”—particularly as compared to the generations that fought and lived through the Civil War and the “Great War,” World War I. Born in the Arkansas Delta in the town of Altheimer on May 6, 1923, I have...

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2. Becoming a Navy Fighter Pilot

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pp. 21-37

I was sixteen in the summer of 1939 when I joined the Civilian Military Training Program at Camp Robinson, in North Little Rock. I volunteered for the basic course for thirty days. We were taught the elements of shooting the 1903 Springfield rifle, marching, and bivouacking and living in National...

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3. Learning to Be a Tax Lawyer

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pp. 39-49

I attended Henderson State Teacher’s College in 1941 and 1942, leaving to join the Navy in November 1942. After returning from the service in January 1946, I entered the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and took classes in the spring and summer semesters. I received some credit for my...

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4. Building a Tax Law Practice

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pp. 51-62

When I arrived at the eleventh floor of the Boyle Building on January 1, 1954, there were seven lawyers in the Mehaffy, Smith, and Williams firm. I was designated a little corner office at the southeast side of the building. On the twelfth floor were two law offices, and Russell Brown and...

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5. Commercial Banking

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pp. 63-87

When I arrived at Commercial National as its president, I found myself sitting at a desk outside Richard Butler’s office in the lobby of what appeared to be the lending platform. I sat out in the lobby for a year before moving into the president’s office because Butler still occupied it and...

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6. Private Sector—Public Service

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pp. 89-124

Shortly after becoming president of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in September 1961, I took a hard look at what I was seeing every day as I made my way to and from work at the law firm. What I saw was grass growing up and along the cracks in the pavement of Main...

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7. Governor Clinton’s Chief of Staff

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pp. 125-162

William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, who had been Arkansas’s governor continuously since January 1983, either really did not know whether he would seek reelection or was just being coy in late 1989 and early 1990, because no amount of cajoling could get him to disclose his plans. This...

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8. William H. Bowen School of Law

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pp. 163-169

Arkansas is unique in that it is the least populous state in the nation with two state-funded law schools. Formal legal education began in Little Rock in 1868 with the formation of the “Little Rock Law Class,” a group of young men who studied law together at night in the capital city. Logic...

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p. 171

The book is finally done! It focuses too much attention on me, but it seems that an autobiography requires it. Not enough attention is given to former UALR Chancellor Chuck Hathaway for commissioning the book, nor to Laura Miller, for compiling these remembrances—nor to President...


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pp. 173-176


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pp. 177-192


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pp. 193-202

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781610750813
E-ISBN-10: 1610750810
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557288189
Print-ISBN-10: 1557288186

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 12 photographs
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 608597083
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Boy from Altheimer

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Subject Headings

  • Bowen, William H., 1923-.
  • Governors -- Arkansas -- Staff -- Biography.
  • Clinton, Bill, 1946- -- Friends and associates.
  • Arkansas -- Politics and government -- 1951-.
  • Fighter pilots -- United States -- Biography.
  • Lawyers -- Arkansas -- Biography.
  • Bankers -- Arkansas -- Biography.
  • Deans (Education) -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- Biography.
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock. William H. Bowen School of Law.
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