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Mark Thomas Carleton
Born (1935-02-07)February 7, 1935
Baton Rouge
East Baton Rouge Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died October 2, 1995(1995-10-02) (aged 60)
Paita, Peru
Residence Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Alma mater

Yale University

Stanford University
Occupation Historian
Professor at Louisiana State University
Years active 1964-1995
Spouse(s) Maureen O'Hearn Carleton (married 1963-1982, divorced)

Roderick Lewis Carleton
Michael Owen Carleton

Mark Albert Carleton

Mark Thomas Carleton (February 7, 1935 – October 2, 1995),[1] was an historian who specialized in political studies of Louisiana. From 1964 until his death at the age of sixty, he was a professor at Louisiana State University in his native Baton Rouge.


Carleton received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957 from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He served thereafter in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 to 1960. He earned a Master of Arts in 1964 and a Ph.D. in 1970, both from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.[2]

Carleton served from 1973 to 1978 on the "good government" group, the Public Affairs Research Council. He left LSU in the 1976-1977 academic year to be the PAR director but returned to the history department in 1978. The previous PAR director Edward J. Steimel, in 1975 had founded the trade association, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

In 1963, Carleton married the former Maureen O'Hearn, and they had three sons: Roderick Lewis, Michael Owen, and Mark Albert. The Carletons divorced in 1982.[2]

Academic career

In 1971, Carleton published his Politics and Punishment: The History of the Louisiana State Penal System (1971), with emphasis on the large prison farm at Angola, bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River. Carleton reports that nearly "overnight" in Louisiana and several other southern prisons, the inmate population became predominantly African American.[3] The prison was populated at first mostly by young men from farming backgrounds. Carleton claims that agriculture became key to southern prisons in the era after the American Civil War. Convict labor and farm work became "synonymous terms in the public and political mind."[4]

In 1975, Carleton co-edited with sociologist Perry H. Howard and Joseph B. Parker the anthology Readings in Louisiana Politics. His contribution includes a study of the three failed gubernatorial campaigns in 1956, 1960, and 1964 of the late New Orleans Mayor deLesseps Story Morrison.[2]

Carleton's other publications include:

  • River Capital: An Illustrated History of Baton Rouge (1981)[5]
  • Louisiana Politics: Festival in a Labyrinth (1982)[2]
  • Louisiana: A History (co-author, 1984)[2]

In 1989, Carleton lauded the start of the Buddy Roemer gubernatorial administration. He claimed that Roemer, who failed to gain reelection in 1991, had changed the mind-set of the state so that the citizens would understand that henceforth they had to foot their own tax bills, rather than depend on business, particularly petroleum interests, to carry the burden. He also hailed Roemer's early attempt to manage the state budget.[6]

Carleton was active in the establishment at LSU of the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, named for T. Harry Williams, the Midwestern-born historian known particularly for his studies of the American Civil War and Huey Pierce Long, Jr.[2] In 1992, he was elected president of the Louisiana Historical Association.[7]

Carleton's papers, consisting mainly of printed material, typescripts, and correspondence, were deposited with LSU. The materials include his career as a professor as well as his association with PAR.[2]

See also

Carleton's LSU historian colleagues included:


Preceded by
Judith F. Gentry
President of the Louisiana Historical Association

Mark Thomas Carleton

Succeeded by
Warren M. Billings

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