Ernie Deane was born in the Red River Valley of Southwest Arkansas in 1911. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1934, and then taught there two years. After a brief stint as editor of El Dorado's newspaper, Deane served as General George Patton's information officer during World War II. After the war he was the head of public relations for the Office of Counsel for War Crimes at Nuremburg.
Deane's self-described "hop-skip-and-jump life as a journalist" continued with his return to Arkansas where he filled in for Arkansas Gazette editor Harry Ashmore, while Ashmore was absent working on the presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson. Upon Ashmore's return to the Gazette in 1956, Deane founded that paper's popular Arkansas Traveler column which he wrote for ten years while also teaching journalism at the University of Arkansas. Most of the photographs shown here are of the colorful events, places and people he covered in his column. Because the Traveler was intended for a white audience during the heyday of segregation, African Americans are conspicuously absent from the photographs. To Deane's credit, however, he often used his column as a voice for moderation and racial harmony during the Civil Rights era.
Deane served on the Arkansas History Commission from 1974 to 1990 and bequeathed it his photographs. He died in 1991.