Library, Historical Society presents ‘Country Doctors of Arkansas’

The Garland County Historical Society, in association with the Garland County Library, will present the virtual “Country Doctors of Arkansas” program with the book’s author, Dr. Sam Taggart, at noon Tuesday.

The public is invited to participate by visiting the library’s Facebook page, http://facebook.com/garlandcountylibrary, or its YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/garlandcolibrary.

“From the 1830s to the present, Dr. Taggart explores the evolution of country physicians and profiles physicians serving small communities in Arkansas,” the Historical Society said in a press release.

Taggart’s 2021 book, “Country Doctors of Arkansas,” began with a series of interviews that examined the lives and practices of rural doctors in Arkansas over the past 70 years, according to the release, and is the first project of the Arkansas Physicians Oral History Project.

“He begins his book by examining the practice of medicine in rural Arkansas from 1804 to 1945. His 40 interviews focus on physicians in small towns or slightly larger towns in rural areas. The oldest physician interviewed is born in the 1920s and the youngest in the 1980s,” he said.

“He emphasizes that ‘every small town has its own story with various characters and dramas’ and his book conveys a ‘tapestry of the history of health and disease in rural America told one doctor at a time'” , the statement said.

Taggart, a family physician, grew up in the White River Delta in Augusta. He received his college education at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and then attended medical school at the University of Arkansas Medical School at Little Rock. After earning a medical degree, he completed a residency in family medicine, then spent two years in the military. He then returned to Arkansas to practice medicine and has lived in Benton and Hot Springs for the past 40 years. He retired in 2013 as a senior partner and founder of Family Practice Associates of Benton.

His first novel, “We All Hear Voices”, was published in 2007 and won the Independent Book Publishers Association National Popular Fiction Bronze Award in 2010. In 2010, he published a second novel, “With a Heavy Heart”, which tells the story of a German spy in Bauxite and Hot Springs during World War II.

In 2012 he was commissioned by the Arkansas Times to write a history of health care in Arkansas over the past 200 years. “The Public’s Health” was published in January 2013. “Country Doctors of Arkansas”, published in June 2021, was also published by the Arkansas Times. He lectures on the history of health care in Arkansas and writes for the journal of the Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, according to the release.

Author Dr. Sam Taggart. Photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society. – Photo submitted
Photo Dr TE Rhine, who practiced medicine in Thornton from 1899 to 1964. He visited patients on horseback, buggy and Model-T and often operated on his kitchen table early in his career. Photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society. – Photo submitted

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