Special Collections New Acquisitions

Every six months or so, our Special Collections Librarian I. Marc Carlson compiles a list of all our new acquisitions. Within this list, everything is included, from single items, to entire collections, and even additions to collections we already house. There is literally no item too small to be mentioned. By compiling this list, it enables us to not only keep track of all the new and wonderful items we receive, but also allows us to demonstrate that we are ever-expanding and looking for new items that can enrich our collections and provide researchers with additional material.

Among the new acquisitions for this past six months are several notable items. One of these is a donation from Nicholas Gehringer. The donation consists of one item, which is a brass coin bank in the shape of a Boy Scout. The bank is made from two halves that are screwed together and is currently undated. The Boy Scout is wearing a hat, backpack, and boots, and is carrying a walking stick.

Another notable donation is that of Jennifer Carlson. The Jennifer Carlson Library of Historical Cookbooks was donated to Special Collections, and some of these books are currently on display in our Satin Room. A number of the books on display pre-date 1900.

Other items include WWI posters, artist books, personal correspondence, maps, and photographs. If you would like to see some of our new collections, or some of our previously acquired collections, we invite you to stop by McFarlin Special Collections Monday-Friday from 8-4:30.


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Thomas “Bruce” Luckett

Photograph of winners from model plane competition

Thomas Bruce Luckett was born on December 6, 1919 in Tulsa. He attended Central High School and then went on to attend The University of Tulsa graduating in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science. He was interested in creating scale models of planes from a young age and was quite talented. He won several awards in the mid-1930s for flying model contests including the Mulvihill Trophy with a flight time of 41 minutes and 41 seconds. He placed 4th in the Moffett Trophy finals. In November of 1941 he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was killed in action on August 24, 1944 when his plane was shot down in Germany.

National Championship medals 1936 and 1937

Luckett’s collection (1000.198) is small but it contains some interesting material. There are a few medals from some of his model plane competitions including the ones from the 1936 and 1937 National Model Plane Championships in Detroit. There is also a hotel card from a trip for one of his competitions. There is a hotel bill from the Book-Cladillar Hotel in Detroit for a stay from June 25, 1936 until July 2, 1936 which I assume is from his time at the National Model Plane Championship in that city. There is a certificate for Luckett from The Stix, Baer & Fuller Model Airplane Club and a letter from Tulsa World congratulating Luckett on winning the World’s model airplane contest. His high school diploma from Central High School is part of the collection. There are a few items related to Luckett’s time at TU. There is a dance card from an event and his initiation certificate from Lambda Chi Alpha. For me, my favorite item from the collection is a postcard from Luckett’s friend Alvie. The postcard ends with a note that made me laugh: “P.S. Boy! was there a Beeeeautiful Stewardess on the plane to Chicago!” which is followed by several drawings of hearts with arrows through them. While looking up some information for this post I came across a website about Alvie Dague in which Luckett is referred to as they were friends. The website has a breakdown of the events at the Mulvihill Trophy contest.

Postcard to Luckett from Alvie

To see the Thomas Bruce Luckett collection or any of our other material come by our offices on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library Monday through Friday from 8am until 4:30pm or email us at speccoll@utulsa.edu

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McFarlin Fellows Dinner: Une soirée avec Martin Walker

This past Thursday, February 22nd, the Special Collections department and McFarlin Fellows hosted the first guest lecture of spring two-thousand and eighteen. The McFarlin Fellows are an integral group of donors with whom Special Collections works closely to purchase new collections for the University of Tulsa. Our collections are often well-known and attract researchers from all around the world.

As usual, the evening began with a cocktail hour and then headed into a dinner reception. This time the drink selection focused primarily on imported white and red wines from France as an acknowledgement to our guest speaker’s home country. The food included a delicious Bouillabaisse. Quelle fabuleuse nuit de vin français et de mots captivants!

Martin Walker, our guest of honor, is the author of the Bruno detective series which has now been translated into 18 languages. Prior to his popular crime novels, Walker worked as Bureau Chief in Moscow and the United States for The Guardian until 1999. He currently works as Chief Editor for the United Press International (UPI) and contributes his work to multiple divisions located internationally. Walker also spends his time as a guest commentator on NPR, CNN and Inside Washington. He lives in Washington D.C. and Dordogne, a southwest region of France upon which his pieces are based. Walker is extremely personable and exudes passion for his writing and the history behind France.

During the lecture, Walker provided insight to the inspiration behind his series which was first published in 2007. He gave intimate details of Bruno’s character and the French culture through descriptive places, people and cuisine. Now that I have passed all my graduate exams, I cannot wait to begin my leisure reading with the Bruno series.

As a reminder, our collections are available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the University of Tulsa Special Collections and University Archives. For more information on Special Collections and University Archives visit: https://utulsa.edu/mcfarlin-library/special-collections/.

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Dr. Guy Logsdon: A lasting impact

On Friday, February 5th, the person responsible for making McFarlin Special Collections what is it today, passed away at 83. Dr. Guy Logsdon was internationally recognized as an authority on Woody Guthrie, as well as Oklahoma history, and an early supporter of Tulsa’s upcoming OKPOP Museum. In 1967, Dr. Logsdon became the Director of the Libraries at the University of Tulsa, where he would remain until 1981. It was at this time that he began to enrich the Special Collections department. He was determined that if McFarlin Special Collections was going to exist, it was going to be the best archives around. He backed the creation of the Rare Books Room, which would eventually expand to what Special Collections is now, and made sure that we acquired anything that would be useful. Many of the collections and books that we house today were acquired during Dr. Logsdon’s directorship due to his perseverance and dedication to expand what was already present.

Dr. Logsdon also wrote a book titled The University of Tulsa: A History, 1882-1972, which is actually an expansion on his PhD. dissertation. This book was published in 1977 and details the history of the University. It is conveniently broken down into sections based on years and what Logsdon calls “heritage”. The book details the journey that TU took throughout this time frame, going from its Presbyterian roots, to what it was in 1872. There are also several illustrations that document everything from groundbreakings, to student parades and daily life, to Presidential portraits. Two copies of this book can be found in Special Collections if you’re interested in diving into the rich history of the University.

Dr. Logsdon was no doubt an integral part of Special Collections. His impact continues to be felt not only at the University of Tulsa, but also with those at the Woody Guthrie center, those working towards the opening of OKPOP, and so many more.

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Found in Collection: Henry James correspondence

As a result of having a large collection and limited staff, we are not always able to fully process collections in a timely manner. This means that there may be items in our collections which we are unaware of. Due to a recent researcher request, we were able to discover some materials related to the writer Henry James in the Rupert Hart-Davis Archive (1999.002). The records for the RHD collection mention some materials related to Henry James but we had assumed that these were probably just newspaper articles about James based on the materials RHD collected from other authors. Much to my surprise, there were several handwritten letters by Henry James to various recipients. Henry James died when Hart-Davis was still a child so it seemed impossible that he would have any materials from the author directly. However, it seems that RHD was a big fan of James and collected many of his letters. This discovery proves that you never know what you might find when working in an archive. As I work on a project to create a more detailed inventory of the Rupert Hart-Davis collection, I am excited to see what other unexpected materials I may find.

Henry James


Henry James was born in April of 1843 in NYC. He attended Harvard Law School in 1862 but soon realized that he did not want to pursue law and began following his interests in literature. Soon after in 1864, he published a short story entitled A Tragedy of Error but he did so anonymously. He continued to write and published his first novel, Watch and Ward, in 1871. He spent much of his childhood traveling abroad in Europe which probably inspired his relocation to Europe and eventual settlement in England. James is often considered one of the greatest novelists of the English language with one of the longest and most prolific careers of a writer with 20 novels, 12 plays, and 112 short stories. His works often focus on the clash of the New World and the Old and are seen as the bridge between literary Realism and Modernism. Henry James passed away in London on February 28, 1916. It is amazing that we have just discovered potentially previously unknown correspondence from Henry James almost 102 years after his death!


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Richard Murphy, aged 90, has died

Portrait of Richard Murphy

It was with great sadness that we were informed about the death of the Irish poet Richard Murphy. He passed away on Tuesday January 30 in Sri Lanka, a country he clearly loved as he had spent part of his childhood and much of his later life there. Murphy studied under CS Lewis at Oxford where he received his Master’s Degree in 1955. His poetry was well-known for its historical accurateness and its ability to capture the essence of the small Irish fishing towns where he ran fishing and tourism businesses that helped revive the industry. His poetry often focused on the clashing of communication and cultures which he used to help settle his feeling of a divided self. Murphy was known for his exquisite reading voice and his dedication to his craft. His autobiography, The Kick: A Life Among Writers, came out in 2002 and details both events from his personal life and the legacies of Irish history that continue to affect the region. McFarlin Special Collections is fortunate to house the Richard Murphy archive containing the poet’s manuscripts and correspondence. Murphy’s contribution to Irish literature will live on in the new generation of artists that he influenced through his works, his time spent teaching at various universities, and his participation in many workshops.     

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The Unfortunates: a tale that you design yourself!


Books have always been one of our favorite things. They can be read for leisure, for education, to put a child to sleep, to escape reality, and to discover new worlds. And they can come in so many different forms, from chapter books, to picture books, to collections of other works, to even audio books. However, as different as they are, the majority of these books all have one thing in common: they are meant to be read from front to back, in a specific order. Even books that are collections of other works usually have a thought out order in which they are compiled. So are there books out there that don’t fall into this order category?

The book in the box!

The answer is yes. And we happen to have one of them in Special Collections. The Unfortunates is a book written and compiled by B. S. Johnson in 1969. It is often referred to as a “book in a box,” simply meaning it was sold in a box, an uncommon practice at the time. There are 27 chapters, ranging from one paragraph to 12 pages. The chapters are unbound, and the only two chapters labeled are the first and the last.

The plot is about a sportswriter who is sent to an unnamed city (likely Nottingham) on an assignment. While he is there, he reflects on memories from his past. The first chapter describes him arriving in the city and must be read first, and the final chapter describes him preparing to head home and must be read last. The other 25 chapters are reflections on memories. They can be read in virtually any order, and Johnson even encourages readers to rearrange the chapters in any way they wish.

So many possibilities!


This book offers a unique chance for readers to compile the story themselves, becoming somewhat of their own author. Each person can experience the book differently, with thousands of different possibilities. If you’re interested in creating your own combination to experience this rare book, come visit us in McFarlin Special Collections any time between 8:00-4:30, Monday-Friday.

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Historic Cookbooks in the TU Collections

Poster for Historic Cookbooks in the TU Collections

Cookbooks, receipt books, and household manuals are far more than just the gatherings of recipes that we usually think of them as. They offer a look into their culture’s means of nutrition, histories, manners, and morals often through fascinating commentaries on those cultures.

The oldest known recipes date from approximately 1750 BCE Akkad: Meat with Wild Licorice; a Wild Fowl Pie, a type of Bread; and a form of Roasted turnips.

The Romans, of course had their own recipes, many of which survive. Arabic recipes survive from the 10th-13th centuries. Hu Sihui’s “Yinshan Zhengyao” (Important Principles of Food and Drink), approximately 1330, is the earliest surviving Chinese recipe collection.

The first recipe books to be compiled in Europe since Late Antiquity started to appear in the late thirteenth century. About a hundred are known to have survived, some fragmentary, from the age before printing. The earliest genuinely medieval recipes have been found in a Danish manuscript dating from around 1300, which in turn are copies of older texts that date back to the early 13th century or perhaps earlier.

Low and High German manuscripts are among the most numerous. Among them is Daz buch von guter spise (“The Book of Good Food”) written c. 1350 in Würzberg and Kuchenmeysterey (“Kitchen Mastery”), the first printed German cookbook from 1485. Others began to appear later.

The books in the TU collections are predominantly in English.   Those on exhibit are a portion of our materials, and include a foretaste of the depth of materials in the Jennifer Carlson Library of Historical Cookery which is being donated to Special Collections after this exhibit concludes.

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives cordially invites the TU community and the public to visit this exciting exhibit, curated by Librarian of Special Collections I. Marc Carlson. The department is located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library and its hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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Images of the Circus

McFarlin Special Collections is well known for its collections on World War I, modernist writers, and Tulsa history but did you know that one of our other main areas of collecting is circus material? We have 9 collections that contain circus-related materials that range from ticket stubs, photographs, programs, advertisements, and various other ephemera. One of these collections, the Traveling Circuses Photo Album, 1930s-1940s (2016.048), consists of the original photo album covers and the 247 black and white photographs that were in the album originally.

Groups of performers ready for the show










The photos were removed from the original album pages due to preservation concerns and placed into archival photo sleeves but they were kept in their original order. The album was compiled by Bert Backstein and he, along with Roy Frietsch, took many of the photographs found in the album.

Circus employee living quarters

The photos show many scenes from circus life. These include the many animals that were used in circuses such as elephants, horses, goats, camels, llamas, and zebras. There are many images of performers like animal trainers, trapeze artists, and clowns; crowds waiting to get in to see the show; employees eating together in the mess area; employees setting up the tents and trailers for shows; performers sitting outside of their trailers that they lives in while on the road; trains with cargo containers that were used to transport the circuses’ materials from one town to the next; parades that were used as advertisements and sneak peeks of what visitors could expect to see at the shows; and walls covered in beautiful posters advertising the different performers and acts to be seen at the circus. These photos show scenes from different traveling circuses including the Russell Bros, the Cronn Bros, the Monroe Bros, and the Kelly & Miller Bros.







Elephant getting off of train


Flyers performing stunts


The circus has had an interesting history in the United States. The first one in the U.S. opened in April of 1793, nearly 225 years ago. This makes the tradition of the circus older than Coca-Cola. The circus has long provided a place for misfits and outsiders to belong and a place for children to dream about and threaten to run away to. The circus is a place that instilled wonder in its audiences and where the impossible and unthinkable can happen. Ringling Brother and Barnum & Bailey was by far the most popular circus and it was the longest running entertainment business. In May of last year, The Greatest Show on Earth held its final performance due to dwindling audiences and growing operation costs. Though there are other smaller circuses that still tour and perform, this was seen as the symbolic end of an era. Although the circus may not exist in all of its glory, or event at all, it will always be a place of imagination and daring feats that will continue to be explored in film (The Greatest Showman) and text.

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Harold Leventhal Proletarian Archive

Earlier this semester we switched to a new database for our collections that, among other things, allows researchers to search for specific items through our entire collection instead of individual collections. This new system inspired us to go back through to update and expand records for collections. As part of this project, I began reorganizing and creating more in-depth records for the Harold Leventhal Proletarian archive (2006.003). This collection was acquired in 1977 and consists of his library of books and his papers. His library contained over 360 books which have been catalogued into our collection of books. These can be found by searching for “Harold Leventhal Proletarian Library” under the subject field on the library’s catalog. The papers section of the collection consists of 3 series: pamphlets and flyers, correspondence, and oversized materials. The flyers and pamphlets were mostly produced by various socialist and communist groups in the U.S. and give details of events being put on by these groups. The correspondence series has a large folder of correspondence between Leventhal and the activist Ammon Hennacy. The materials are in English and German.

Harold Leventhal portrait

Leventhal was a folk music manager who was born in New York in May 1919 and died there in 2005. His political activism started at a young age and he was arrested in 1935 for organizing a strike to convince students to refuse to fight in future wars. He was a member of the Young Communist League.  His first job in the music business was as an office boy for songwriter Irving Berlin. He would go to nightclubs to try and sell songs to musicians. He then enlisted in the Second World War. He was stationed in India where he met Gandhi and was inspired to found the American Friends of India. He met his future wife Nathalie Buxbaum, a UN guide, through an event related to his work with India. After the war, he met Pete Seeger and ended up representing his band The Weavers. His Christmas Eve Weavers reunion concert at Carnegie Hall in 1955 is cited as igniting the folk music boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s. This explosion of popularity allowed Leventhal to promote Bob Dylan’s first big concert which took place in NYC in April of 1963.

Poster for Bob Dylan’s concert

Throughout his career he produced concerts for musicians such as Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, and Joni Mitchell. He essentially adopted Arlo Guthrie after his father’s death in 1967. He won a Grammy award in 1989 for producing the album Folkways: A Vision Shared which was a tribute to Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. In 2003 a concert was held at Carnegie Hall in his honor which featured many prominent folk musicians. There is a large collection of his papers at the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa.

Leventhal and Arlo Guthrie

If you are interested in seeing the Harold Leventhal proletarian archive, stop by our office on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library. You can access the record for the collection here.

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