Farewell, Special Collections!

Today, I am writing my last blog post from the McFarlin Tower. My two years Master’s program has come to an end and I am finishing up my commitment to this assistantship next Friday. In lieu of writing a new post about a new topic, I thought I would share some of my favorite photographs from the blog posts that I have written over the past two years.

I don’t know that I can describe the wonder that comes along with working in an extensive archive like this one. A stroll down an aisle of books is never boring. Someone can find something new to marvel at here; I often refer to the items in our collections as “treasures” in these posts, because finding them really does feel like finding some treasure.

The front of a stein that looks like a woman's face

The face of the Gertrude Stein Stein

Picture of the Spotlight Theater taken from the Tulsa Art Deco collection










Since poking around in our Art Deco collection, I find myself noticing Tulsa’s unique architecture whenever I’m downtown. I performed at the Spotlight Theatre as a young girl and was drawn to the subject for my first blog post. Plucking stories out of the collections can be overwhelming initially! The Gertrude Stein stein was another early favorite find of mine.

An image of a tree under a microscope

One of the slides from “American Woods” under a microscope


14 books on a cart

14 volumes of American Woods










A botany class’s visit drew my attention to some of the most delicate and unique books I have ever seen. “American Woods” by Franklin B. Hough contains hundreds of very thin slices of trees that allow researchers to observe their cell structure under a microscope.

Color photograph of various pieces of crystal viewed from the top

I love all of the really cool glass that Jacalyn and I were able to set up for our first exhibit. We learned so much about Depression glass and glass blowing techniques while we curated our “American Glassware” exhibit. This exhibit was taken down as the pandemic ramped up and we were sent to work from home for the rest of the semester.

Two men standing in front of an x-ray of the Liberty Bell

Two men discussing the final x-ray photograph of the Liberty Bell

Quite possibly my favorite story was the post about the mysterious X-ray of the Liberty Bell. A few months after writing the post, I received a letter from the mustached man in this photograph. He found my post while searching for information so that he could tell his grandson about it and decided to send me a letter here at the library, identifying himself in the photographs and telling me more about the project.

Jacalyn and I have curated one more exhibit to go on display in the Reading Room next week. It will be made up of books, big and small, that captured our attention.

The Special Collections is still closed to the public but open to TU students and affiliates. Please email speccoll@utulsa.edu to set up an appointment or request scans of our materials.

About Kelsey Hildebrand

Kelsey is GA in the Special Collections department currently pursuing a Master's in Museum Science and Management.
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