On March 14th, the University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives welcomed a group twelve middle-school students from Sapulpa Public Schools who were visiting our campus. Their visit was hosted by the Head Librarian of Special Collections, Marc Carlson, and Graduate Assistant Carlos Acosta-Ponce. The students learned about the role that Special Collections plays in academia and were presented with a variety of books and artifacts from the Special Collections inventory.
After a brief lecture on the mission and responsibilities of our department, the students were shown some items of our collection, beginning with the oldest book in our collection, a 12th-century illuminated manuscript of the books of Romans and Hebrews from the Bible. Then the students were shown and 1829 copy of Thomas Morre’s Lalla Rookh: an oriental romance, which has a fore-edge painting of two men playing badminton, an 1818, three-volume, first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, and D.J. Cunningham’s Stereoscopic Studies of Anatomy, showing the inside of the human face. In addition to these items, our young friends from the Sapulpa Public Schools were shown a variety of comic books, including adaptations of materials from the 2008 presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain.
Afterwards the visitors were shown some of Specials Collections’ artists’ books including Ronald King’s Anansi Company, Michael Shützer-Weissman’s In Nomine Domini: lives of the composers, and Jacques Fournier’s Le 6 avril 1944. This final piece is a box-shaped artist’s book that uses an Edward Hillel photograph of the children’s orphanage where the “Butcher of Lyon” Klaus Barbie kidnapped forty-four children to be sent to the Auschwitz death camps during World War II.
Subsequently, the students were shown a number of artifacts from our World War I collections, such as a soldier’s helmet, gas-mask, web belt and mess kit. The World War I items also included a disarmed hand grenade. Finally, the students were shown a piece that caused excitement among our young friends: an ornate 19th-century British ceremonial sword.
The Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Tulsa would like to thank our young friends from the Sapulpa Public Schools for their visit. We encourage our communities to organize these types of activities for their students. These young men and women are the future of our nation and our department is committed to contribute to that future by providing education and access to our resources.