Arthur Mattingly Brought History to Life

Arthur Mattingly, history prof, SEMO c 1966When Jim Stone headed off to Ohio University, he and I would trade audio tapes instead of letters. It’s almost painful to listen to the two of us half a century later, but I was playing part of one the other day and heard myself describing my history prof: “He’s talking when he walks into the room, and he’s still talking when the bell rings and people are walking out.”

That was Arthur Mattingly, one of the best profs I had at SEMO or Ohio University.

Founded historic preservation program with Dr. Nickell

The Missourian had a story in 2006 saying that Dr. Mattingly and Dr. Frank Nickell were being recognized for founding SEMO’s historic preservation program 25 years earlier. A 1973 article he wrote does the best job I’ve ever read in explaining the value of historic preservation and how “old” doesn’t always translate into valuable.

Taught history in present tense

Arthur Mattingly, history prof, SEMO c 1966 One of the things I liked about him was that he delighted in debunking all those myths about history that we had been taught from grade school on. His accounts of battles were told in the present tense. He didn’t dwell on dates and troop movements, he made you feel like the enemy was going to come up over that rise any minute.

He, John C. Bierk, and Fred Goodwin are three SEMO profs I remember well.

Things are going to slow down here

I got a call from a perky and squealing Curator Jessica this morning. A grant we had applied for to put on a week-long workshop in Athens, Ohio, in August was approved. Since I really hadn’t expected it to get funded, I drug my feet on preparing for it.

I have to pull together an update for my Smelterville project by July, figure out what I’m going to do convince a bunch of amateur photographers that shooting pictures today with history in mind is fun, and knock off my Last Generation project for an Immigration Conference in Altenburg in October.

To get everything done, I’m going to have to throw some babies out of the lifeboat. I can’t give up food, sleep and afternoon naps, so it’ll be blog posts that go splash. I may plug in re-runs so you don’t forget about me.

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9 Replies to “Arthur Mattingly Brought History to Life”

  1. Dr. Truman Smith is another great one at SEMO…he started talking and continued until 2 seconds before the bell rang said “This Concludes the lecture”, then the bell would ring EVERY time! I have him in class for two years he never failed on this. I asked how he did this each time, his answer, ” I practice each lecture at home until it comes out right”. You know, I think he did just that.

  2. I had bot Dr.Nickels and Dr.Mattingly when I was at SEMO and found both to be intriguing and inspireing. The historic Preservation program was a eye opener for state and local history, if anything, my two years in the program taught me a lot about Cape and and Cape has a interesting history on its own.

  3. I had both Dr.Nickels and Dr.Mattingly when I was at SEMO and found both to be intriguing and inspireing. The historic Preservation program was a eye opener for state and local history, if anything, my two years in the program taught me a lot about Cape and and Cape has a interesting history on its own.

  4. I thought Dr. Mattingly was an excellent professor. I had him in the fall semester of ’64 or spring of ’65. A novel that was required reading for this class was Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” depicting the horrible work conditions in the meat packing industry in Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century. The content of book has remained seared in my memory. Dr. Mattingly was featured in the ’65 issue of the Sagamore.

  5. We must not forget Dr Michaels in the math department. He talked very softly, wrote with his right hand and simultaneously erased with his left hand. He was a brilliant man with a huge heart.

  6. Hi Ken,
    Would you mind telling me how I could get a copy of the photos of my dad (Art Mattingly)? Are they from the Missourian?

    Thanks so much.
    Carrie

    1. I’ll email you copies. I probably shot those for The Capaha Arrow or The Sagamore. It looked like I roamed the campus that day shooting photos of teachers. Do you think I can submit the photos for extra credit? With my grades, I could probably use a bump, even if it comes 48 or so years late.

  7. I had Art Mattingly at SEMO and he was among my favorite professors. Frank Chong was another of my favorites.

  8. I had Dr. Frank Nickell for History at Central High my junior year, and the next year he began teaching at SEMO. When it came time to take American History I and II, I sought him out. I very distinctly remember a tremendous amount from his classes and actually enjoyed “In a clear and concise essay, explain(ing) the significance of …(some event, object or person in history).

    Two of my other favorite professors at SEMO were Dr. Joseph Paikeday, Physics and Dr. Mangho Ahuja, Calculus. Dr. Michaels in the Math Department, while a very nice man, was the worst, bar none.

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