CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 7, 2008 — “Missouri: The Confluence Area of America” will be the topic of the Eighth Annual Veryl L. Riddle Distinguished History Lecture planned for Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Southeast Missouri State University.
Dr. Stephen Aron, professor of history at UCLA and the executive director of the Institute for the Study of the American West at the Autry National Center for the American West, will present the lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.
Aron is the author of three major books and is currently working as the editor of a six-volume history of the American West. His most significant publications include American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State (2006); Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World from the Beginnings of Humankind to the Present (2002); Trading Cultures: The Worlds of Western Merchants (2001); and How the West War Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay (1996). He also has another significant publication forthcoming entitled Can We All Get Along: An Alternative History of the American West.
In addition to a distinguished record of book publications, Aron has published essays and book chapters on a variety of topics: “Where Rivers Meet: Lessons from the ‘American Confluence;'” “The Meetings of Peoples and Empires at the Confluence of the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers;” “The Afterlives of Lewis and Clark;” “The Next Western History;” “The American West Reprised, Revised, and Revived;” “Daniel Boone and the Struggle for Independence of the Revolutionary Frontier;” “The Legacy of Daniel Boone;” “The ‘West’ as America;” “The Western Man in the Eastern Parlor;” and “Returning the West to the World.”
The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, Calif., is one of the great museums in the United States. It celebrates the American West through three important institutions: the Museum of the American West, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and the Institute for the Study of the American West. The Autry National Center explores the distinct stories and interactions of cultures and peoples, and their impact upon the complex, evolving history of the American West. A substantial figure in bringing the National Center into being was Gene Autry, the Hollywood version of the American cowboy.
The Riddle Lecture is made possible by an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Veryl Riddle. Riddle is a prominent St. Louis attorney who was born and raised on a farm in Dunklin County, graduated from Campbell High School in 1939 and attended Southeast Missouri State University.
He served in Special Services in World War II, and following the war received his law degree from Washington University and returned to Dunklin County where he practiced law for 17 years. From 1967 to 1969, Riddle served as U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, later joining the Bryan Cave Law firm, a combination of 26 attorneys, now one of the largest law firms in the nation.
In 2006, Riddle received an Award of Merit from the American College of Trials Lawyers, only the fifth Missouri fellow to ever receive this award. The award highlighted Riddle’s efforts on behalf of federal grand jury reform. He spent several years working to make key changes in the instructions that judges give to grand juries, changes that are now in place.