Closing Notice for Thanksgiving Break

Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tulsa will be closed on Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27, for the Thanksgiving Break.

We will reopen on Monday, November 30 at 8am.

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Happy Holidays and more!

When we think postcards, we think Holiday season. With the festive season around the corner, it may be interesting to shift our attention to postcards in this entry of our weekly blog. As technology dominates our lives in this digital age, it is certainly refreshing to take a look into the history of postcards and how they contributed to the post facilities back in the day. Cards with messages had been sporadically created and posted by individuals since the beginning of postal services. The earliest known picture postcard was a hand-painted design on card, posted in Fulham in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840 bearing a penny black stamp. An interesting trivia about this is that he probably created and posted the card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office.

The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain and the first German card appeared in 1874. Cards showing images increased in number during the 1880s. Images of the newly built Eiffel Tower in 1889 and 1890 gave impetus to the postcard, leading to the so-called “golden age” of the picture postcard in years following the mid-1890s. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards (which require a stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority. The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.

front side

Front: Burg Cochem, Germanyrear sideRear: Cpl Rowe to Alton C. Rowe, Sr [2009.018.4]

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives has an array of postcards in about 3 separate collections. The Alton Conrad Rowe collection of WWI-era postcards [2009.018] consists of 80 postcards, most of which are written by Corporal Alton Conrad Rowe, Jr. (Co. A, 301st Engineers AEF) to family members and to his fiance; mailed from Camp Devens (Massachusetts) as well as various places in France and Germany such as Paris, Coblenz, and Metz. Many of the postcards are stamped with the censor’s stamp and signed by whatever officer cleared them for mailing. In the upper right-hand corner of nearly every card addressed, Rowe has written, “Soldiers mail”.

And then, there is Les Ruines Apre le Passage des Allemands photo-postcards [2001.072] – an 18-page commemorative album of photo-postcards depicting scenes in France during 1914-1915. Special Collections also has a postcard collection [1976-023] that Consists of postcards collected from a variety of individuals including Lilah Lindsey, John W. Shleppey, and Richard Tenney grouped into 7 categories:  United States, American Indians, People (identified and unidentified), Transportation (airplanes, trains, automobiles, ships), Art and Artifacts, Greeting Cards and Business Advertisements, Foreign Countries, and oversize material.

kendall college tulsa oil fiedsfrench

These postcards remain as historical artifacts. They indeed represent more than just the holiday season. They carry stories, emotions, and history along with them. The richness of study to be found in these cards will stimulate, delight and amaze you. All the collections are open to public on request.

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Bitter Tears: a Photographic Perspective on the Wounded Knee Occupation

On Sunday, November 15 from 2-5pm, Special Collections will be exhibiting a series of 15 photographs of the Wounded Knee Occupation donated to the department by Kent Frizzell. The exhibit is available to view at the Woody Guthrie Center and is presented in conjunction with a viewing of Johnny Cash’s film Bitter Tears. The event is free and open to the public. 

This blog post providing historical context and analysis of the Wounded Knee incident is written by Brian Hosmer, H.G. Barnard Chair of Western American History, University of Tulsa. 

On 27 February 1973, more than 200 members of the Ogalala Lakota Nation and members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee Township on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.  For 71 days, and surrounded by U.S. Marshals, FBI agents and local law enforcement personnel, Indian activists held their ground.  Meanwhile, as Americans watched events unfold on television, images of armored personnel carriers, helicopters and jet planes racing overhead competed with shots the small church that headquartered the activists and Indians standing guard.  Perhaps more than any other event of its kind, the occupation of Wounded Knee symbolized “Red Power,” and introduced Americans to conditions on remote Indian Reservations.  Looking every bit as if the Vietnam War had come to the northern plains, Wounded Knee proved a signature event in a decade of protest, linking struggles for human rights to the anti-war movement.

Special Collections at the McFarlin Library has a stunning collection of photograph documenting those 71 days.  Tulsa resident Kent Frizzell was appointed by President Nixon as Assistant Attorney General of the Land and Natural Resources Division in January 1972, and in this capacity became chief government negotiator over the course of the incident.  In 1973 he became Solicitor of the U. S. Department of the Interior. In 1978, during his time as a University of Tulsa law professor and the Director of the National Energy Law and Policy Institute (NELPI), Frizzell donated his files and photographs covering the events at Wounded Knee to Special Collections.  It is an incredible collection and genuine treasure.

Background for the Occupation:

As a place, Wounded Knee holds immense historical and cultural significance.  Site of the massacre of more than 250 Mineconju and Hunkpapa Lakota men, women and children by members of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry on 29 December 1890, Wounded Knee came to symbolize the brutality of American colonialism. Largely unarmed Indians were surrounded and cut down by Hotckiss Mountain guns, bodies were left to freeze in the snow before being thrown into a mass grade, and more than 20 Army men received Congressional Medals of Honor for what they called a ‘battle’ against a supposed ‘outbreak’ of Sioux followers of the Ghost Dance, a religious movement promising renewal and deliverance the misery of reservation life.

For decades before 1973, Oglala Lakotas had suffered from crushing poverty made worse by a corrupt and neglectful tribal government.  Though selected democratically, tribal leaders, though selected by vote, were widely seen as subservient to Washington and local non-Indian interests.  Patronage corrupted politics and ‘in groups’ consolidated control over meager resources and used their influence to isolate and punish opponents. A language of ‘blood’ or authenticity shaped political discourse on Pine Ridge. Supporters of tribal government regarded themselves as culturally (even racially) superior to “full bloods.” In return, ‘full bloods’ seized the mantle of tradition, describing themselves as ‘real Indians” in contrast to “half-breeds”, “apples,” and, referencing older patterns of receiving and accepting patronage from whites, ‘hang around the fort Indians.”

Chairman Richard “Dick” Wilson embodied everything traditional Oglalas hated about the BIA-supported tribal government.  Politically conservative, sporting a crew cut and noted for his combative and divisive rhetoric, Wilson openly and with impunity, rewarded friends and punished opponents.  He ruled with intimidation, employing a private militia known as Guardians of the Oglala Nation.  Opponents preferred the acronym “GOONs” but this was no joke as Wilson’s followers were heavily armed, often with surplus equipment supplied by National Guard and U.S. army.

A failed effort to remove Wilson from office set the reservation on edge; and at the same time, a series of racially tinged murders and assaults escalated tensions. One example was the early 1973 murder of 20-year old Wesley Bad Heart Bull outside a bar in Buffalo Gap, a notoriously violent town bordering the reservation.  AIM organized a demonstration outside the Custer County courthouse, hoping to generate publicity for civil rights violations. They also asked for murder charges against the suspect, and then held for second-degree manslaughter.  Riot police met the crowd, tensions exploded, and protesters burned down the chamber of commerce building, damaged the courthouse and destroyed two police cars, and vandalized other buildings.

At this point, Oglala Lakota elders decided to invite AIM to the reservation. As American Indian Studies scholar Robert Warrior aptly phrased it, drawing on AIM represented ‘a roll of the dice’ as this organization had already established for itself a reputation for political theatre, and excess.

Red Power

Activists living in Minneapolis founded the American Indian Movement in 1969 as an expression of urban Indian identity, and inspired by youth-driven protest movements like Black Power and the anti-Vietnam War movement.  More specifically, it grew out of frustrations felt by urban Indians who faced high rates of unemployment, impoverished neighborhoods, and were subject to police brutality. Its leaders, like Clyde and Vernon Bellacourt and Dennis Banks earned a reputation for their skillful use of television, and their message of “Red Power” catapulted AIM to front lines of Indian activism.

In truth, the history of Indian political activism is more complex, and reaches back before the beginning of 20th century.  AIM, in some sense, drew upon the activities of multiple post-WWII groups, from National Congress of American Indian’s opposition to Termination policy and various violations of treaty rights, and the National Indian Youth Council, which emerged in 1961 and under the fiery leadership of Clyde Warrior (Ponca) out of impatience with what they saw as the NCAI’s ineffective leadership. By middle 1960s, had dramatized the systematic violation of treaty-protected rights.  Meanwhile the Seneca’s fight to prevent the flooding of their homelands by the Kinzua Dam earned attention of the New York Times and liberal Americans.

AIM drew upon these lessons and seized upon the invitation to join the struggle at Pine Ridge.  Dennis Banks and Russell Means also saw this opportunity to reconnect urban Indians with the cultural and spiritual foundations of Indian life, through the advice and support of Lakota elders.


The occupation of Wounded Knee initially worked to AIM’s great advantage.  The spectacle of young, charismatic Indians announcing the creation of a “Sovereign Oglala Nation” captured the attention of Americans who knew little of conditions across Indian country.  Televisions stations and newspaper reporters flocked to the scene and Indians from across the country, notably Carter Camp, a Ponca from Oklahoma, made the pilgrimage to the site.  Supporters also included the Congressional Black Caucus and public figures like Marlon Brando, Johnny Cash, Angela Davis, Jane Fonda, attorney William Kunstler and newspaperman Tom Wicker.

This alarmed a Nixon administration that had worked to cultivate American Indians, partly to quell criticism of its stance on Black Power.  Worried that the incident would drag on indefinitely, perhaps resulting in violence, and determined to support Dick Wilson, the government-recognized chief, they dispatched Kent Frizzell as chief negotiator.  Frizzell proved an able, if controversial, envoy.  On the one hand, he established relationships with activists by drawing upon his western heritage and, in particular, his horsemanship.  On the other hand, Frizzell expelled television reporters from the site, ‘cutting off their oxygen.” He also prevented the ferrying in of supplies to support the embattled occupiers.

Ultimately, this combination wore the activists down, and Means agreed to surrender in exchange for a government review of conditions that spurred the movement in the first place.  But the result failed to meet Means’ expectations.  But by that time, the occupation had ended, and the movement dissipated.


The results of Wounded Knee are complex.  Violence accelerated on Pine Ridge as Wilson’s followers took out revenge upon Lakota supporters of occupation.  It was in this context, a ‘reign of terror,” that murder of two FBI agents led to the arrest and conviction of Leonard Peltier, and his sentence to two life terms, to be served consecutively.  Despite questions about the reliability of testimony and evidence, he remains there still.

In some ways, Wounded Knee proved the pinnacle of AIM”s influence.  A hastily organized march on Washington, D.C. known as the “Trail of Broken Treaties” ended in chaos and the destruction the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices. This damaged AIM’s reputation.  Meanwhile, a series of criminal charges embroiled AIM leadership in lengthy court battles, sapping the organization of funds and direction.  Even though the organization continued, and exists today, its high point had come to an end.

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George Bernard Shaw Ephemera

Nearly everyone has heard of George Bernard Shaw. If not, typically the titles  Pygmalion (later made into the famous My Fair Lady film), The Importance of Being Ernest, or Man and Superman ring a bell.

Known for his searing wit and biting social commentary, it is easy to forget the Shaw was first a book and music critic before his extensive literary career. He is the only person to be awarded both the Nobel Prize (in literature) and the Academy Award (for best adapted screenplay). He declined all other awards, and had a long, prolific life in several areas.

The University of Tulsa Special Collections has a sampling of George Bernard Shaw ephemera that give a wonderful example of his great diversity. The typical copies of clipping about and by Shaw are supplemented by original play bills for numerous plays. The playbills offer insight into the interpretation of Shaw’s works as well as a delightful glimpse into world of early twentieth century advertisement and fashion.

The most insightful part of the collection is the series of letters between Shaw, Dodd, Mead, & Company, and William Cox about including one of Shaw’s articles on a fight for an anthology. Besides some contract issues, Shaw takes umbrage with the cost of the book.

George Bernard Shaw

In red ink, he gorgeously, scathingly notes that he thinks “no book on earth is worth $90…” and that he will “have nothing to do with it.” The entire scene plays out like a Saturday Night Live sketch if one only has the humor and wit to appreciate Shaw’s real life from a Shaw point of view.

The George Bernard Shaw Ephemera collection (1984.010) is available at the University of Tulsa Special Collection in the McFarlin Library during regular business hours.

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Birthday for November 10: Neil Gaiman

Happy Birthday Neil!

Happy Birthday Neil!

Today is the 55th birthday of English author Neil Gaiman, best known for the comic book series The Sandman, and for his books Coraline and American Gods.

Neil was born on November 10, 1960, and grew up in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. An avid reader since the age of 4, he read every fantasy book he could find. He is a big supporter of using libraries and library resources.

Neil was in Tulsa in March 2015 for an event for the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa and used this opportunity to visit McFarlin Library Special Collections to view some items from the R.A. Lafferty Papers, Collection 1979.002. While in his early 20s, Neil contacted R.A. Lafferty for advice on becoming an author. They became life-long friends and some of their correspondence can be found in the R.A. Lafferty collection.

Special Collections holds a few items written by Neil Gaiman that were also personal copies of R.A. Lafferty.


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Temporary server migration

Special Collections and McFarlin Library are undergoing a server migration today. Some of our finding aids may be unavailable due to link and directory changes.

Never fear, however! Our manuscript and artefact collections are all still with us, and we hope to have the website up and running at full capacity within the next week.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

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How to Contact Special Collections

Contact us!

Contact us!


Having difficulties contacting individual staff members at McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives? Well, we’re here to help with that! Below you will find the contact information for each staff member currently in Special Collections.


  • I. Marc Carlson, Librarian of Special Collections and University Archives
    • 918-631-2882
  • Jenn Donner, Special Collections Librarian
    • 918-631-2866
  • Melissa Kunz, Special Collections Librarian
    • 918-631-2828
  • Milissa Burkart, Special Collections Paraprofessional
    • 918-631-2877



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New in Digital Collections: October 2015 Update

Special Collections at the University of Tulsa has added some new sets of items to the Digital Collections items page.

Historical Manuscripts has been updated with handwritten manuscripts by Auguste-Denis Fougeroux de Bondaroy, a botanist and engineer. The manuscripts are in Italian and French and describe the discovery of the presence of petroleum in Parma, Italy.

Cherokee Language materials now includes:

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Once Upon a Time at the University of Tulsa

Fairy tale books1316

Most Americans are familiar with the traditional western European tales–mainly from the works authored, compiled, and translated by the Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Perrault, and Andrew Lang.
Fairy tales are evident in almost every culture around the world. However, scholars have difficulty in clearly defining fairy tales. Heidi Anne Heiner states fairy tales are a “sub-genre” within the category of folklore. Fairy tales are distinct from legends and myths and do not necessarily require a fairy character in the story . According to Ruth B. Bottigheimer, some stories that involve magic are not necessarily fairy tales. The Thousand and One Nights are not considered to be fairy tales and yet many of these stories involve the use of magic. Bottigheminer also makes a distinction between folk tales and fairy tales . Yet many of these tales appear in specifically fairy tale anthologies. Suffice to say that classification of fairy tales is complex and controversial in the academic world.

It is impossible to pinpoint the exact origins of fairy tales. Many come from oral tradition. The stories developed and were expanded over time. Jack Zipes states, “As types of fairy-tale telling evolved and became crystallized, the genre of the fairy tale borrowed and used motifs, themes, characters, expressions, and styles from other narrative forms and genres”. Many of the earliest fairy tale texts are very different from modern translations and interpretations . reveals an intriguing timeline of highlights in fairy tale history. A few of the main points are as follows:
• The timeline starts around 100 A.D. with Apuleius’ work Metamorphoses and the Story of Cupid and Psyche. Some scholars consider this the oldest fairy tale and similar to Beauty and the Beast.
• In 850 A.D. the first version of Cinderella is written in China.
• In 1500 the One Thousand and One Nights is recorded.
• In the early 1700s French authors Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy and Charles Perrault write “contes de fees” and the term “fairy tale” is created.
• In 1812 The Brothers Grimm write their work Kinder und Hausmarchen or Childhood and Household Tales.
• In 1835 Hans Christian Anderson writes his original tales Fairy Tales Told for Children.
• In 1889 Andrew Lang compiles various stories and publishes his first color fairy book The Blue Fairy Book.
• In 1937 Walt Disney releases his animated film rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This sparks a tradition of fairy tale film retellings that continues into the present day.

Fairy tale books Fairy tale books1325

The University of Tulsa Special Collections has publications from all of these authors and many others. Many of these books are beautifully bound volumes with fantastic illustrations. TU even has a first edition of The Happy Prince and Other Tales, by Oscar Wilde, published in 1888. Many fairy tale volumes are organized by the culture or region of the tale’s origin. Some of these cultural fairy tale anthologies at TU include Irish Fairy Tales edited by W.B. Yeats from 1893, Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome from 1938, Fairy Tales of the Western Range and Other Tales by Eugene O. Mayfield from 1902, and Totem tales. Indian stories Indian told, gathered in the Pacific Northwest by W. S. Phillips from 1896. Some other fairy tale titles in at the Special Collections include The Green Fairy Book, The Fairy Godmothers and Other Tales, Histories or tales of past times told by Mother Goose with morals, The Navy Fairy Book, etc.

Fairy tale books1312

Reference Sites

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South Vietnamese Propaganda

The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war was fought between North Vietnam- supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies- and the government of South Vietnam- supported by the United States, Philippines and other anti-communist allies. The U.S. government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam.

The United States ran an extensive program of psychological warfare during the Vietnam War. Psychological warfare is a term used to denote “any action which is practiced mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people,” typically intended to reduce an opponent’s morale. A number of strategies and programs were used by the governments of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War to win the popular support of the Vietnamese people and to help defeat the Viet Cong insurgency.

south vietnamese propaganda

Some propaganda leaflets in our collection

Some of the leaflets that were disseminated sent a strong message. Some suggested that soldiers who did not leave their rank would find their family pictures distributed after their bitter death on the battlefield in the future. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the McFarlin Library, University Of Tulsa has its own collection of the South Vietnamese Propaganda. The collection [Coll. No. 2013.020] includes leaflets that were used in the time. The leaflets include a variety of information, some including graphic images of the wreckage by aircraft. Special Collection also has numerous books focusing on Vietnam War such as- The tainted war: culture and identity in Vietnam War narratives / Lloyd B. Lewis [DS559.5 .L49 1985] and Carrying the darkness American Indochina : the poetry of the Vietnam War / W.D. Ehrhart, editor [PS595.V5 C37 1985 Undrsz] to name a few.

Also of importance is the fact that during the Vietnam War, right about this time of the year in history – October 31, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson ordered a halt of American bombing of North Vietnam. This was followed by President Nixon’s announcing of withdrawal of troops marking the beginning of Vietnamization in 1969.

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