McFarlin Fellows Event with Historian Dr. Geoffrey Wawro

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The University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives and McFarlin Fellows hosted a reception and dinner this past Thursday, April 16th, with guest speaker Dr. Geoffrey Wawro.  The evening began with a cocktail reception on the Albert Plaza, followed by dinner at the Pat and Arnold Brown Reading Room. After dinner, Dr. Wawro presented his talk titled “A Mad Catastrophe: The Real Reasons for World War I.”

Dr. Wawro is a Professor of Military History at the University of North Texan and the Director of the UNT Military History Center. His primary areas of expertise and interest are modern and contemporary military history. He has published four books on military history, including his most recent publication, A Mad Catastrophe: A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire, published in 2014.

Military history has always been an interest of Dr. Wawro. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with his Bachelor’s before receiving his Master of Arts in European History from Yale University. He also completed his Master in Philosophy in European History and Doctorate in Philosophy at Yale. Wawro has also hosted several history programs on the History Channel, as well as teaching Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College.

Wawro has won the Austrian Cultural Institute Prize and Society for Military History Moncado Prize for Excellence in the Writing of Military History. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna from 1989 to 1991 and an Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Fellow at Yale University from 1991 to 1992.

Wawro’s presentation was based on his most recent book, A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Hapsburg Empire. He charted the decline of the Hapsburg empire before the war, as well as the designs that Germany had before the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Wawro delivered a fascinating account of a highly debated and complicated topic, ultimately laying the blame for the beginning of World War I at the feet of the newly formed German state.

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Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s Assassination

This past Tuesday, April 14th, we commemorated the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. President Lincoln was shot by American actor and Confederate spy John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, 1865 while attending a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. After he was shot, the President was taken across the street from the theater to the Petersen boarding house by three doctors and some soldiers who had been in the audience. Their efforts to save President Lincoln were in vain. He passed away from his wounds at 7:22:10 a.m. on April 15, 1865. After a twelve-day manhunt, Booth was shot and killed by Union Army Sergeant Boston Corbett.
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In our efforts to preserve history, the University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives holds some materials related to President Lincoln’s assassination. For example, our department holds a forgery of the broadside playbill for Our American Cousin for that fateful night printed a few days after the assassination. The genuine playbill did not mention Abraham Lincoln’s attendance, since it was only announced on the same day. This forgery was probably created in order to extort money from unwitting collectors. In addition to the playbill, our department holds a piece of the wallpaper that adorned the walls of the balcony on which President Lincoln was assassinated. This artifact is framed along with a manuscript inscription that reads “A piece of paper hangings detached from the box in which our President was assassinated. F.L. President Lincoln.”

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Our patrons may also enjoy looking at the texts from the James Alexander Veasey Library. This personal library contains numerous volumes on the history of President Lincoln, the Civil War, and President Ulysses S. Grant. One of the most interesting books found in this library is an 1868 first edition of the history of the United State Secret Service.

McFarlin Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives invites our students, faculty and general public to take a look at these pieces of American history.

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Department in Transition, Part 1

The office of McFarlin Library Special Collections is currently in a state of transition. In preparation of adding a new office for a new Special Collections Librarian, the fabulous staff and students have been working hard to rearrange areas of the department. Some of the uncataloged materials were relocated to remove some shelving. A larger space was created by relocating the projects workspace and moving a section of filing cabinets. Here are some before and after shots. There will be more changes coming soon so stay tuned for future updates.

After the materials were moved.

After the materials were removed.

Now the shelves are gone.

Now the shelves are gone.

The project workspace removed.

The project workspace moved.

The new projects workspace.

The new projects workspace.

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

With the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the staff of the University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives would like to highlight some of its holdings pertaining Irish poets and writers, as well as its close relationship with prominent Irish figures. The literary and social contributions of these men and women are undeniable, and their legacies endure to this day. Our department holds a vast amount of materials related to late-19th and early 20th century Irish literary figures, as well as some of their contemporary counterparts.

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Color portrait of James Joyce from the Paul and Lucie Léon Collection of James Joyce

Probably the most prominent figure in our collections is James Joyce. The broad spectrum of Joyce materials in our collections begin with the Richard Ellmann papers (1988.012). Ellmann was a prominent literary biographer who not only wrote the definitive biography of James Joyce, but also of Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats, Joyce’s fellow Irishmen. In addition to Ellmann’s Joyce-related materials, our department holds a substantial set of Joyce’s correspondence (1000.012) that includes handwritten letters, postcards and calling cards from James Joyce to Leon Paul Fargue, Mrs. Richard Hughes, Mlle Raymonde Linossier, Armand Petitjean, Sean O’Faolain, Charles Ogden, and Niall Sheridan. Rounding out our Joyce archival holdings is the Paul & Lucie Léon Collection of James Joyce (1984-005), which consists of correspondence between Paul and/or Lucie Léon and James Joyce and other friends, colleagues, and fellow Joyceans; page proofs for Finnegan’s Wake and page proofs for James Joyce and Paul Léon, the “Story of a Friendship” by Lucie Léon Noël; over 60 photographs and photo-negatives of James Joyce, the Léons, colleagues and friends, and Joyce family members; and a blue/white striped tie once belonging to James Joyce, a porcelain lion (a gift to the Léons from James Joyce), press cuttings pertaining to Joyce, theatre programs, exhibition announcements, and book seller catalogues. Our department also holds seven first editions of Joyce’s Ulysses. Our holdings pertaining to early 20th century Irish poets and writers are no limited to James Joyce. We have available numerous first editions of works by W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde.

1000-012-7-1Letter from James Joyce to Niall Sheridan from the James Joyce Correspondence Collection

Materials related to more contemporary Irish authors and poets have also found a place in our holdings. For example, our department holds the correspondence of Irish poet Richard Murphy (1988.014), who also spent some time at the University of Tulsa as a visiting professor. Murphy’s correspondence includes exchanges with, among others, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath. Murphy has also graced the University of Tulsa by appearing as a McFarlin Fellows guest speaker. McFarlin Fellows and our department have also welcomed the late Seamus Heaney. Heaney, whose work embodies the spirit of contemporary Irish poetry, was the 1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature. Another contemporary Irish poet of prominence welcomed by our department is Paul Muldoon. A close friend of Heaney’s and a Pulitzer Prize winner in his own right, Muldoon has graced us with his reflections on his relationship with Heaney, as well as readings of his poetry. McFarlin Fellows has also welcomed Mary Robinson, the seventh President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations. Robinson was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

 Seamus Heaney WorksSome of our Seamus Heaney original editions.

The University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is delighted to celebrate the contributions from these prominent Irish men and women.

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English Author Neil Gaiman Visits Special Collections

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English author Neil Gaiman paid a special visit yesterday afternoon to the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tulsa. Gaiman is known for his novel American Gods, his Sandman graphic novels, and his children’s book Coraline, among many other literary works. Gaiman was in Tulsa for an event sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa, and took this opportunity to visit our department and take a look at an exhibit of our extensive collection of R.A. Lafferty materials. Lafferty, who passed away in 2002, was an Oklahoma science fiction writer. Gaiman credits Lafferty as one of his biggest influences and the reason he wanted to visit Tulsa. Gaiman is quoted as saying:

I’ve never been to Oklahoma. I’ve never been to Tulsa. And this is odd, because Tulsa has been, ever since I was about 19, the place in America that reeked of literary magic to me. I had plucked up my courage, and written a fan letter to R. A. Lafferty, from an address I found in the back of a book of authors in my local library. He was my favorite author in the whole world, and, months later (because the letter took a long time to find him) he wrote back. He told me how to become an author, and his advice was very good advice, and so I did. It left me quite certain that the finest literary advice in the world came from Tulsa, Oklahoma, for it did in my case.

Gaiman is a devoted admirer of Lafferty’s work, to the point that he wrote an obituary for the The Washington Post upon Lafferty’s death, expressing that Lafferty was “undoubtedly the finest writer of whatever it was that he did that ever there was. He was a genius, an oddball, a madman.”

The Lafferty materials examined by Gaiman included some of his correspondence, typed manuscript drafts of his published and unpublished works, a number of his photographs, fanzines that included his work, and some of his awards. Among these awards were a Japanese Seiun Award (1994), a Phoenix Award (1971), a Hugo Award (1973), and a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award (1990). Gaiman also perused some foreign editions of Lafferty’s works in Japanese, Dutch, Polish, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.
In addition to the Lafferty materials, Gaiman enjoyed the comic book exhibit on display at the department, which will be up until March 21st. The Special Collections staff was delighted to welcome Neil Gaiman to our facilities.

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R.A. Lafferty Materials on Exhibit

R.A. Lafferty

The University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is proud to contribute some of its materials to Oklahoma Writers–A Literary Tableau, a multi-venue author exhibit in the Brady District and beyond, organized by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa and the Oklahoma History Center. This exhibit, on display from March 6th to April 16th, will be located at AHHA, the Woody Guthrie Center, Philbrook Downtown, the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education, Greenwood Cultural Center, and the Tulsa Historical Society. One of the featured authors will be the legendary Jim Thompson, author of The Killer Inside Me.

As part of the exhibit, our department will provide facsimiles of materials related to science fiction writer R.A. Lafferty. These materials include Lafferty’s US passport and his diploma from Christ the King Grammar School. The exhibit will also have a letter from R.A. Lafferty to English author Neil Gaiman. Lafferty contributed a poem titled “When the Music Breaks” to Gaiman’s 1986 poetry anthology Now we are Sick: an Anthology of Nasty Verse. A typed manuscript draft of the poem will also be shown. All these materials are part of the R.A. Lafferty Papers collection (1979.002).

Neil Gaiman will also appear as part of Tulsa Reads, a community-wide reading initiative jointly sponsored by the Tulsa City-County Library System, Tulsa Town Hall, the Tulsa World Media Company, and the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Gaiman, and admirer of Lafferty, will be receiving the Center’s Ambassador Award on March 10th at 7:00PM, at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Chapman Music Hall. The Ambassador Award, first established in 1998, honors writers from around the world whose works reach beyond boundaries to address universal themes. In addition to sharing insights into his work, Gaiman will also be answering questions from the audience.

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McFarlin Fellows Event

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            Last Thursday, February 26th, the University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives and McFarlin Fellows hosted a reception and dinner honoring antiquarian book trader and founder of Tavistock Books, Vic Zoschak. The evening began with a cocktail reception at the Ann and Jack Graves Faculty Study, followed by dinner at the Pat and Arnold Brown Reading Room. After dinner, Zoschak presented his talk titled “The Antiquarian Book Trade: One Man’s Experience,” in which he gave a retrospective of his formation as an antiquarian bookseller.

After retiring as a US Coast Guard search and rescue pilot, Vic Zoschak Jr., entered the antiquarian book trade in 1989 by establishing Tavistock Books. He was accepted into the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) in 1995, and currently is serving his third term on the ABAA National Board of Governors.

Education has long been a priority for Zoschak, who advocates and promotes an annual rare book research workshop, now in its 12th year. In 2012, he established the Tavistock Books’ Educational Scholarship. The workshop and scholarship assist new booksellers launching their careers.

Zoschak, who graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy in 1974, holds an MBA from NYU and an MS in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle. Since 1998, he has attended over 20 courses at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, earning “The Student with Most RBS Courses Attended” designation.

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Abraham Lincoln-related Materials

This Thursday, February 12th we commemorate the birth of our 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln. As one of America’s most respected presidents, Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.

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President Lincoln was assassinated early into his second term as president on April 14, 1865.  While attending a performance of the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., along with the First Lady, and head Union general Ulysses S. Grant, Lincoln was mortally shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland. President Lincoln passed away after nine hours in a coma, at 7:22 AM on April 15, 1865. After a twelve-day manhunt, Booth was shot and killed by Union Army Sergeant Boston Corbett.

As part of its vast holdings related to American history, the McFarlin Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives has the privilege of holding two invaluable items related to that fateful day in 1865. One is a forgery of the broadside playbill for “Our American Cousin” on the night of Lincoln’s assassination printed a few days after the event. The genuine playbill did not mention Abraham Lincoln’s attendance, since it was only announced on the same day. This forgery was probably created in order to extort money from unwitting collectors.

Additionally, our department holds a piece of the wallpaper that adorned the walls of the balcony on which President Lincoln was assassinated. This artifact is framed along with a manuscript inscription that reads “A piece of paper hangings detached from the box in which our President was assassinated. F.L. President Lincoln.”

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Our patrons may also enjoy looking at the texts from the James Alexander Veasey Library. This personal library contains numerous volumes on the history of President Lincoln, the Civil War, and President Ulysses S. Grant. One of the most interesting books found in this library is a 1868 first edition of the history of the United State Secret Service.

McFarlin Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives invites our students, faculty and general public to take a look at these pieces of American history.

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Harper Lee Announces New Novel

Books Harper Lee

Last Spring, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives was glad to find out that Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and classic of Modern American literature To Kill a Mockingbird was to be re-released in digital and audiobook formats. In related news, the Associated Press announced yesterday that Lee’s unpublished novel, Go Set a Watchman, is scheduled to be released on July 14.

In a statement released by the writer herself, she says, “In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became To Kill a Mockingbird) from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

Although written before To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman appears to be a de facto sequel to Harper’s masterpiece. According to the Associated Press, “the new book is set in Maycomb during the mid-1950s, 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird and roughly contemporaneous with the time that Lee was writing the story. The civil rights movement was taking hold in her home state. The Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in 1954 that segregated schools were unconstitutional, and the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955 led to the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott.”

“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus,” the publisher’s announcement reads. “She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

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McFarlin Library History

Throughout The University of Tulsa’s history, the University has embraced the importance of a library to the academic community.  In the First Annual Catalogueof Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, Indian Territory, 1894, a page was set aside declaring the needs of the college. The first need was scholarships — $100.00 would pay all expenses for one student for one year.  The second read:

The Library stands greatly in need of reference books, especially in history, science and English language and literature.  The college greatly needs $500 for library purposes.  One hundred dollars just at this time would relieve a part of the extreme necessity. An endowment fund would advance the work greatly.

McFarlin History By 1901, the library, a room in the administration building, contained 1200 books. When the University moved to Tulsa, and to its eventual home, three miles east of town, a room was set aside in the administration building, later Kendall Hall, to house the growing collection of volumes.

By 1928, The University of Tulsa had 16,000 books and was in desperate need of a dedicated facility to serve the student population.

robertmcmarlin_img2 McFarlin Library was the first of the three new buildings to be erected at The University of Tulsa and it was selected as the central feature. The library became the focal point of the campus and dictated the future growth of the campus. Robert M. McFarlin and his wife, Ida Mae Barnard McFarlin, donated the structure, as well as the book stacks and the furnishings. McFarlin, a successful Tulsa oilman and rancher, was well-known for his contributions towards church and educational memorial buildings.

mcfarlin_history_img3 At the groundbreaking for the new library, on May 3, 1929, John Rogers, a University Trustee, stated “this building will be probably the most important on the campus for it is in reading and in books that our finest wisdom is stored.”

The building was designed by Henry C. Hibbs, a Nashville architect.

mcfarlinhistory_img4 After a year, the building standing at the head of the ‘U’, designed by Henry C. Hibbs and built by Bellows Construction, was complete.

At the dedication, on June 1, 1930, guest speaker J. L. Rader, University of Oklahoma Librarian, proclaimed  “the library is the only unbiased force left in the world. The library is the only place where one in quest of knowledge may go and pursue his studies without outside influences being brought to shape his opinion. The library presents every side of a question without itself taking sides, leaving the reader to form his own opinions.”

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The new McFarlin Library was dedicated by L. S. McLeod, Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, with the following words:


In memory of those great teachers and scholars who
have labored through the centuries, and have
bequeathed to us in written form the fruits of their toil
We dedicate this building
In memory of those who believed in wisdom and
righteousness and who founded this fellowship of
teachers and students
We dedicate this building
That comradeship here may be found, scholars of all
interests, masters and disciples in the way of learning,
people of the school and people of the city, sharing
together the treasures of learning
We dedicate this building.
Aerial view of the university One area that made the library popular with the students was the Browsing Room, a place where students could actually place their hands on a book, without having to have it paged from the closed stacks by a staff member.

The circulation desk, as well as the place where books were paged from was situated just inside the main entrance, now the West entrance, beneath the first arch as you enter.

Browsing1930s Over the years, as TU’s educational offerings expanded so did the need for a larger library that could support more undergraduate and graduate programs. The five-story addition on the east side of the original building was funded by the Chapman-McFarlin interests in 1967 and doubled the library’s usable space. This addition provided the space for additional research materials to support new Ph.D. programs in English and engineering.

university library However the needs of the library and university continued to grow, and in 1979 the library dedicated its second addition. Coinciding with the acquisition of the one millionth volume added to the library, the new addition extended McFarlin Library to the west. This innovative three floor underground addition provided new stacks areas as well as new study space for the student body. A new sunken central courtyard created an attractive outdoor space and provided natural lighting for adjacent study areas.

McFarlin Library celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a variety of events that included an open house during homecoming and an event in April 2005 featuring Richard West, founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian. Thomas Staley, Director of the Harry Ransom Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin spoke at the official rededication ceremony on June 1, 2005.

mcfarlinhistory_dean-photo_img9 In February 2007, McFarlin Library welcomed its first Robert and Ida McFarlin Dean of the Library, Adrian Alexander. In September 2009 the building was rededicated to celebrate the addition of the Pauline M. Walter Technology Resources Center, as well as to unveil a host of renovations to the older building intended to encourage the use of McFarlin Library as an academic commons for the campus.

The future of the Library is as yet unwritten, but McFarlin Library will continue to play a pivotal role in both the academic and social life of The University of Tulsa.

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References:

Logsdon, Guy W. The University of Tulsa. Norman, Ok: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977.

Olsen, Claire, ed. Pi Alpha Mu’s History of the University of Tulsa, 1935-1958. Tulsa, Ok: University of Tulsa Press, 1958.

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