The Great War, 1915: Entrenchment Exhibit Extended

dept poster

By popular demand, Special Collections and University Archives has extended the latest exhibit ‘The Great War, 1915: Entrenchment’ until August 31, 2015. This exhibit can be viewed Monday through Fridays from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Posted in Exhibits, History | Tagged | Leave a comment

Technical Difficulties

Due to technical difficulties, ‘From McFarlin Tower’ was inaccessible from July 13-22. The blog is now back up and running smoothly. New blog postings will appear soon.

Posted in General, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Steve Barrett photography exhibit begins next week

Steve Barrett photography

Please join us for a reception Thursday, July 16, from 5:00 p.m. to
7:00 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the Steve Barrett photography exhibit in Phillips Hall on The University of Tulsa campus.

The event is free and open to the public and offers a cash bar.

Barrett was a local photographer who served with the Bookmobile program at the Tulsa City-County Library. His images are now a treasured part of TU’s McFarlin Library Special Collections. Barrett was an expert photographer who used color, lines and a sense of isolation to convey meaning within his work.

View McFarlin Library’s invitation on Facebook. For more information, email

Posted in artwork, Exhibits | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Centenary of the Somme

Battle of the Somme
The battlefield near Courcelette

The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest offensives of the First World War beginning a hundred years ago today. Between 1 July and 18 November 1916 more than a million men were killed as the French and British attempted a big push to distract the German forces from French held Verdun to the south.

The First Day was the darkest day in the history of the British Army, sustaining nearly 60,000 casualties, with nearly 20,000 of those being killed. In the Pals Battalions the young men of entire communities were wiped out. Kitchener’s army, developed from the recruits he’d asked for after the losses sustained by the BEF at Mons in 1915 at the beginning of the war made their strategic debut. They were inexperienced and ill-prepared for the sort of mechanized slaughter that had developed between the Germans and the French.

Among those who took part in this battle and were deeply affected by it include J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, David Jones, and Isaac Rosenberg. Their experiences helped to engender and shape their contributions to literature.

At the end of the battle there had been some gains, but the image of Lions being led by Asses had become entrenched in the mindset of the British, with soldiers as simply numbers to be tossed at the enemy machine guns so prevalent in depictions of the war. The cost of the battle, which certainly must have made sense in the planning room were British Commonwealth: more than 419,654 casualties, 95,675 dead or missing; French: 204,253 casualties, 50,756 dead or missing; German 465,000 casualties, 164,055 dead or wounded, 38,000 prisoners. All for the gain of six miles.

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ladies Almanack is being made into a film

Djuna Barnes’s 1928 novel Ladies Almanack is the inspiration for an experimental new film.

The original text is a literary parody of the intellectual and lesbian social circle of Natalie Barney in 1920s Paris, with the main character based on Barney herself. It’s presented as a month-by-month poetic almanac of misadventures with illustrations in the style of Elizabethan woodcuttings.

We have two first edition copies in our holdings:

  1. 818 B261L 1928 Connolly
  2. PS3503.A614 L3 1928

You can find more information about the film and some clips at this link. Please note that images and content contain nudity.


Posted in News, Popular Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital collections: 1924 Booker T. Washington High School Yearbook


We’ve recently digitized and uploaded a fascinating piece of Tulsa history. Our copy of The Orbit, Booker T. Washington High School’s yearbook from 1924, is now available to look through on our ContentDM site at this link.

Teachers, students, school activities and clubs, plays, sports, and local businesses of the time are all encapsulated here.

All the pages have been transcribed and are searchable–if you’re interested in finding a specific name, click the “View Image & Text” button in the upper right corner, type the name in the search bar at the top, and the pages will be highlighted in red.

Posted in Digital Collections, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday closing changes

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be closed on the following dates:

  • Friday, June 26
  • Friday, July 3
  • Friday, July 10

We will reopen each following Monday.

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

New librarian Melissa’s new office

Since this is my first blog post with Special Collections, I thought it would be nice to show some progress pictures of the construction that Physical Plant has been doing on my new office.

The original work space and some bookshelves were moved so that we could get a better sense of the layout and floor plan.

Workers put up the frames for the wall very quickly right into the existing space.

Then it came time to add the sheet rock and insulation.

With the walls installed and the dark brown trim and old air vents removed, the electricians set to putting up brand new automatic timer lights. They’re nice and bright! You can also see where they’ve mudded over the nail holes and are getting ready to paint.


Next came the door.

Three coats of paint, and they were ready to install new base boarding along the foot of the wall. It’s looking fresh!

All finished! The furniture’s been taped out to make sure it fits, and soon I’ll get to hang my artwork and move in!

Posted in Events, General, News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Collections Summer Hours

Starting June 1st and ending July 31st, 2015, the hours of operations for McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be as follows:

Monday-Thursday                 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Friday                                       8:00 AM-12:00 PM


Have a great summer!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Art of the Book: Challenging Our Concepts

Many of the books and book-like objects to be seen in The Art of the Book, now on exhibit at the Zarrow Center, will challenge our notions of what constitutes a book—that ordinary and universally recognized thing that British author Paul Scott referred to as “a small, hard, rectangular object”.

The Artists’ Book:  Unlike authors and illustrators of the traditional book who may be constrained by the wishes of editors and publishers, the book artist is free to experiment with textual content (or the lack of it) and the combinations of all sorts of media.   The artist may choose to combine texture, color, sculptural qualities, moving parts, pop-ups, imagery (conceptual or non-conceptual), sound, and, in some cases, even smell. In other words, the artists’ book may engage some or all of the viewer’s senses while moving beyond words and intellect to communicate with the viewer.

Anatomy of the traditional book–a book you will not see in this exhibit

Some influential 20th century movements in the book arts are (to name only a few):

The Russian Futurists,
German Bauhaus,
The Dada Movement,
The Fluxus Movement,
The New Realism, and
American Pop Art.

The Altered Book:  Also on exhibit is a selection of altered books.  Technically, the illuminated manuscript could be considered an early form of the altered book; however,  Tom Phillips, a British artist, is credited with initiating the modern altered book movement when, in 1966, he bought a used and very inexpensive Victorian novel, A Human Document, by W.H. Mallock, and transformed it into his own work, A Humument.

A Humument:  A Treated Victorian Novel.  Tom Phillips.  London:  Thames & Hudson, 1980.

A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel. Tom Phillips. London: Thames & Hudson, 1980.

An altered book is created from an existing book (old, new, or recycled), utilizing an almost unlimited range of methods and media—re-binding, dis-binding, reshaping, cuts , tears, folds, assemblage and/or additions of 3D objects, painting, relief printing, collage, pockets and windows, pop-ups, and the use of or marking out of existing text—in order to alter its original form.

The Art of the Book continues through June 28th at the Zarrow Center for Art & Education, downtown in the Tulsa Brady Arts District.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment