World War I: 1917 – The Yanks are Coming exhibit


The University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce our newest exhibit, World War I: 1917, The Yanks are Coming.

This exhibit commemorates the centenary of 1917, the year the United States joined the Allied Forces, declaring war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Items featured include personal stories and items from soldiers who fought overseas, Canadian glass slides showing the brave capture of Vimy Ridge and the fight at Passchendaele, and a series of WWI propaganda posters.

World War I: 1917, The Yanks are Coming will run through November 15. Special Collections is located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library, and is open to the public from Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm. Visitors are always welcome.

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Worlds of Wonder: Science Fiction in Special Collections

With the solar eclipse earlier this week, many people have spent the last few weeks (or months) researching celestial events and preparing to witness something that, although scientifically predicted, seems almost fictional. While observing the eclipse, I was struck by the strangeness of the light. I was reminded of the many films and television shows that have been set in post-apocalyptic futures. This inspired me to dig into some of the science fiction materials that are held in special collections.

McFarlin Special Collections and Archives has an extensive collection of science fiction material. The majority of these materials consist of science fiction magazines including such titles as Galaxy Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Astounding Science Fiction, and many more. During my quick review of the magazines, it appears that the earliest editions we have date back to 1938 and there are hundreds dating between those publications and the ones from just last year. 

There are other materials related to science fiction in Special Collections as well including books about famous science fiction authors and anthologies of short stories. I took interest in two of these books and had a closer look.  The first of these intriguing books caught my eye because of its title. The Science Fiction Weight-Loss Book is a collection of short stories whose focus is on the main characters’ obsession with weight whether it be trying to slim down or a wife trying to fatten up her husband. The other is a book containing photographs of science fiction authors taken by Patti Perret accompanied by quotes from the authors pictured. In this book, The Faces of Science Fiction, many of the authors discuss their relationship with science fiction. Alfred Bester explains that he loves science fiction because he sees it as “the last frontier of complete creative freedom.”

Bester’s idea that science fiction allows uncontrolled creative freedom can be observed easily through the cover art of the science fiction magazines. These fun covers range from aliens and humans in space to famous creatures such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Science fiction allows people to creatively express their interest in space, rapidly changing technologies, and the extraordinary possibilities that people dream up.

Special Collections’ science fiction magazines and books are available for viewing in the reading room from 8-4:30 Monday thru Friday. There are works by well-known authors including Isaac Asimov, George R.R. Martin, and R.A. Lafferty. To find any science fiction material you may be interest in check out the catalog and limit the location to McF Special Coll. Special Collections also has the R.A. Lafferty collection consisting of correspondence, writings, and personal papers from the Tulsa science fiction author.

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Recently Added Digital Collection

Unidentified men on horseback. It may be that this is Chief Charlot, during the 1907 visit by President Garfield. (2003.033.12)

Recently added to the Department of Special Collections Native American Digital Collection are the photographs from the Edward H. Boos Flathead Indian Reservation Photos.

Edward H. Boos (1877-1937) was a photographer and journalist who took a tremendous number of images  on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Flathead and Missoula valleys of Montana in 1905-1907, specifically of the Ktunaxa (Kootenai), Bitteroot Salish and Upper Kalispel “Pend d’Oreilles” people of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.

There are 16 prints, most bearing Boos’ seal and copyright dates.  Context suggests that they were made by the photographer before his death.

We acquired these materials in September 2003.

Other institutions with Boos’ photos are The Denver Public Library (who hold 131 glass negative, including many for the prints in our collection), and Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula (again, some overlap, but they also have images Boos took of the U.S. Army 25th Infantry (African American) Bicycle Corps’ experimental expedition from Fort Missoula to St. Louis, Missouri in 1897.

For more information on Boos’ life and work, please see: “Acclaimed Western Photographers ~ Edward H. Boos” by Randel Metz.

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Birthday for July 26: George Bernard Shaw

Photograph of George Bernard Shaw. Photographer unknown, image is in the Public Domain. Sourced from

George Bernard Shaw, a playwright and critic, was born on July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland.

Shaw preferred to be known only as Bernard Shaw, and held both British and Irish citizenship. He moved to London in the 1870s and soon became a renowned music and theater critic. His first publicly successful play was Arms and the Man, written in 1894. He underwent a political awakening, joining the gradualist movement, and used his creative works to further express his political and social ideas.

The author found great success on the stage, particularly with Pygmalion in 1913, and went on to write over 60 plays in all.Shaw was known for writing a combination of comedies and serious philosophical dramas, and his plays were most profitable in print form. One anecdote says that Edward VI attended John Bull’s Other Island and laughed so hard that he broke his chair. His works are considered on par with Shakespeare in terms of their influence and importance to the Western canon of theater.

Shaw’s politics and opinions were notably controversial and sometimes contradictory. He supported eugenics, opposed the use of vaccines because he felt that better housing for the poor would help eradicate disease, and criticized organized religion. During World War I, he denounced both sides as equally culpable because of their participation in acts of war, an unpopular view at a time when patriotism ran high. He was a supporter of Irish Home Rule, but within Britain itself, and spoke out against Irish nationalism, saying that total independence would leave Ireland too weak. Later in life, he expressed admiration for Stalin and Mussolini, supported interracial marriage, and deemed it necessary for Europe to be “fair” to Adolf Hitler while simultaneously writing about his disgust with Anti-Semitism.

Among his other works includes alphabet reform. Shaw wrote in his will that after his death, he wanted his estate to fund an effort to rewrite the English alphabet to be made up of 40 phonetic characters. Although the courts invalidated that desire based on the way the document was drafted, some of his money did go toward producing a copy of Androcles and the Lion written in what is known as the Shavian alphabet. The book was published in 1962.

Special Collections houses the George Bernard Shaw ephemera collection, the finding aid for which can be found here. It contains correspondence with Shaw, programs from theatrical productions of his works, and other items. We also have many of Shaw’s plays and written materials in our book holdings, along with a copy of Androcles and the Lion written both in English and in the Shavian version of the text.

We are open to the public Monday – Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (on Fridays in the summer we close at 11:30am). If you’d like to make an appointment to view the Bernard Shaw materials, please email us at


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Birthday for July 21: Ernest Hemingway

Image of Ernest Hemingway By Lloyd Arnold –, Public Domain,

Ernest Hemingway, a writer, was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois.

The second of four children, Hemingway grew up playing sports, performing in his school’s orchestra, and graduated to become a journalist for a short while at the Kansas City Star, where he learned to write short, dynamic sentences that would later become his signature style, influential on American writing.

In early 1918, Hemingway enlisted to become an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in Italy during World War I. While recovering from an injury sustained on duty along the front, he met and fell in love with a Red Cross nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky. The two planned to get married, but she suddenly became engaged to an Italian officer. Hemingway was married four times after that, and each time left his wife before she could leave him.

After the war, Hemingway moved to Paris, where he became friends and neighbors with people like Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Much of his travels with these like-minded folk were the inspiration for novels like The Sun Also Rises, written after a trip to Spain in 1925.

Hemingway became especially known for his particular style, which has been described as sparse, vigorous, and masculine. He examined the lives of the post-war expatriates known as the “Lost Generation” and the far-reaching impact that war had on human emotions and lives.

The author went on to live in places like Key West, Cuba, and the Caribbean, all the while working on pieces like Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro  and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He covered the Spanish Civil War as a journalist and was present at the Normandy Beach Landings during World War II, though removed from the action—he was not allowed to go ashore and instead watched the waves of soldiers reach the beach from a ship just off coast.

Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea. He’d been nominated twice previously; he did not go to Stockholm for the acceptance ceremony, choosing instead to send a speech to be read aloud. In the late 1950s, his health began to decline, and he bought a house in Ketchum, Idaho, where in 1961 he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Years later, doctors and scientists confirmed that Hemingway was diagnosed with a condition called hemochromatosis, an inability to metabolize iron, which causes mental and physical deterioration. In addition, he experienced bipolarity, alcoholism, and suffered from concussions sustained in two airplane crashes while in Africa. The hemochromatosis may have been genetic and therefore related to three suicides in his immediate family: father Clarence, sister Ursula, and brother Leicester.

Special Collections has several record groups containing papers related to or from Hemingway, including the Ernest Hemingway ephemera collection. This includes correspondence and photographs, but also personal items, such as Hemingway’s driver’s license when he worked for the Red Cross in Italy, and his high school dance card. Hemingway’s love of hunting and fishing is here too—the taxidermist he used, Fred C.N. Parke, has a pamphlet advertising his services and describing the work he’d previously done for Hemingway.

There is also the Bifur archive, which was a Parisian literary magazine published in the late 1920s. Much of the materials are related to a wide variety of authors, including Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and include editorial correspondence.

Our department is open to the public from Monday – Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (although we close at 11:30am on Fridays in the summer). If you’d like to make a viewing appointment, please email us at Please note that certain collections may be located at our offsite warehouse, in which case we need at least 24 hours notice before the materials can be made available.


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Birthday for July 18: Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings. Picture found at

Elizabeth Jennings, an English poet, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, on July 18, 1926.

Jennings’ family moved to Oxford when she was six years old. She attended St. Anne’s College at Oxford, and became a writer, with her first book, Poetry, published in 1953.

The writer lived in Oxford for the rest of her life, and both the landscape and the general atmosphere contributed to the nature of her poetry. World War II was a strong influence and caused her poetry to become more empathetic. Jennings was Roman Catholic and frequently wrote on the subjects of religion and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Her works are noted for their traditionalism and simplicity, which tends to place her with other poets of the time and location such as Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis, who were collectively known as The Movement. However, Jennings experienced mental illness and a breakdown later in life that resulted in a stay at a psychiatric care facility where she befriended Viviene Greene, the wife of Graham Greene. This produced more experimental poetry that focused on difficult emotional themes.

Jennings won a WH Smith Literary Award in 1987 for her work Collected Poems 1953–1985. She died in 2001.

Special Collections has a large Elizabeth Jennings collection, the inventory of which can be found here. The collection contains 39 notebooks and drafts of 2,225 poems, many of which were unpublished at the time of acquisition.

If you would like to access and view these papers, Special Collections is open to the public from 8am to 4:30pm Monday – Friday (on Fridays in the summer we close at 11:30am).

Please email us at to set up a viewing appointment, as the Jennings papers are located in a storage facility separate from campus—we require 24 hours notice before the collection can be made available.

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Birthday for July 14: Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie / By Al Aumuller/New York World-Telegram and the Sun  – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c30859.

Woody Guthrie, a singer-songwriter, poet, and artist, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma on July 14th, 1912.

One of the most prominent members of the American folk music scene, Guthrie learned to play blues and folk songs from friends of his parents. During the Oklahoma Dust Bowl storms, he traveled to California and worked for a radio station, playing folk music and writing protest songs. He also wrote newspaper columns for a Communist newspaper called People’s World. Although Guthrie once said that he joined the Communist Party in 1936, he was considered a “fellow traveler,” someone who believed in the values and political ideals but who was not officially a member and therefore not subject to party discipline.

Guthrie was most famous for writing the song “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940 as a response to hearing Irving Berlin’s song “God Bless America” played frequently on the radio, which he thought was “complacent and unrealistic” as a song. Four years later, the lyric sheets were being distributed in American public school classrooms. During this period of time, Guthrie recorded an album of songs and conversation with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, and later an album called Dust Bowl Ballads.

In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Guthrie was a prolific writer and artist, and many of his poems and prose are unpublished, created while he was living in New York City. At Alan Lomax’s suggestion, Guthrie wrote Bound for Glory, an autobiographical novel.

Guthrie also wrote another novel in 1947, specifically about the Dust Bowl, called House of Earth, which was unpublished for many years until 2013, when it was released by Harper Books.

Special Collections houses the original final typed manuscript that belonged to Woody Guthrie, complete with his handwritten doodles at the top of chapters. Other manuscripts of short stories by Guthrie are also available in our collection. You can find the inventory here.

This piece of American history and literature is available to the public for viewing. If you would like to visit The University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections, our reading room is open from Monday – Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (11:30am on Fridays in the summer). For viewing appointments, please call (918) 631-2496 or email us at


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Birthday for July 3: Francis Steegmuller

Francis Steegmuller and his wife Shirley Hazzard. Image sourced from

Francis Steegmuller, a writer, biographer, and scholar of the works of Gustave Flaubert, was born on July 3, 1906 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Steegmuller was educated at Columbia University and was particularly prolific on the subjects of French authors and French culture. He wrote Flaubert and Madame Bovary in 1939, won a 1971 National Book Award for his work Cocteau: A Biography, about the life of Jean Cocteau, and received another National Book Award in 1981 for the first volume of his translation of Flaubert’s letters. His 1957 translation of Madame Bovary was noted for being particularly excellent.

He also wrote travel guides, and submitted short stories and articles to The New Yorker, in addition to writing books about Guy de Maupassant, Isadora Duncan, and the printmaker Jacques Villon.

The author also produced several crime novels under the pseudonym David Keith, such as A Matter of Iodine and The Blue Harpsichord. A biography titled Oh Rare Ben Jonson! was written under the name Byron Steele.

Steegmuller married his second wife, the Australian-American writer Shirley Hazzard, in 1963. In Steegmuller’s 1994 obituary in the New York Times, she is quoted as having affectionately described their marriage as being “an extended menage a trois with Flaubert.”

Special Collections houses the Francis Steegmuller letters collection, number 1992-001. These consist of 32 letters and postcards from Steegmuller to a publisher, relating to Steegmuller’s translation of Flaubert’s Novembre.

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Birthday for July 3: Elizabeth Coles Taylor

Elizabeth Coles Taylor. Image sourced from

Elizabeth Coles Taylor, a novelist, was born in England on July 3, 1912. She worked as a librarian and governess before she published her first novel in 1945, At Mrs. Lippincote’s. 

Taylor wrote several novels, various short stories, and even a children’s book. Her works focused on women, children, and the everyday lives of middle- and upper-middle class people in England. Her work was praised for feeling deft and character-driven rather than seeming obviously plotted out in advance, with critic Phillip Hensher writing that The Soul of Kindness seems

… as if the cast are so fully rounded that all the novelist had to do was place them, successively, in one setting after another and observe how they reacted to each other.

Taylor is noted to have been a very private person, and eschewed publicity. Her underrated nature as an author is possibly owed to the fact that she shared a name with Elizabeth Taylor the actress, who really came into fame around the same time that Mrs. Lippincote’s was published.

Two of her books have been turned into movies. Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont was released in 2005, starring Joan Plowright. The Real Life of Angel Deverell was adapted into Angel in 2007, and starred Romola Garai.

Special Collections houses many of Taylor’s papers, including manuscripts handwritten in notebooks, scripts for BBC adaptations, correspondence, and Taylor’s essays and autobiographical pieces.

Elizabeth Coles Taylor manuscripts, collection ID 1985-002, is housed off-site and requires special arrangements for anticipated use. The finding aid with a detailed inventory is listed here.

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Tulsa Art Deco Collection, 1982.006, is complete and available for viewing and research

Special Collections and University Archives at The University of Tulsa is pleased to announce that a collection related to Tulsa’s art deco history is processed and ready for researchers and visitors to view.

Detail on the exterior of the Philcade building in downtown Tulsa. Coll. No. 1982.

In the late 1970s, Tulsa’s Junior League assembled committees with the intent to research, purchase, and restore one of the many beautiful and historically important buildings around town that were designed and built at the height of the art deco architectural era, which lasted from the early 1900s until the 1940s. The style is noted for its bold effects, including strong and clean vertical geometry and chevrons, floral motifs, zig-zags, and a sense of rich luxury—perfect for a young city in the throes of the oil boom looking to prove itself as an exciting hub of activity and influence.

Warehouse Market building in downtown Tulsa. This snapshot shows classic art deco detailing of strong lines and floral motifs with bright colors. Coll. No. 1982. 

Although the Junior League did not ultimately purchase any property, in the course of their research and study into Tulsa’s art deco movement they acquired a great deal of photographs and documents related to the people and ideas behind the buildings. Members of the committees decided to produce a book about Tulsa’s art deco, since similar books had been previously researched and published in other cities like Washington D.C. and Miami.

The Court of Three Sisters, a bar favored by newspaper reporters, police officers, and other downtown workers. Formerly located at 120 W. 4th St. in Tulsa. Coll. No. 1982. 

The collection Tulsa Art Deco, 1982.006, contains a variety of items, including:

  • Photographs of art deco buildings in Tulsa, including ones that had been demolished before the project began in 1979. Some photos were taken by Bob McCormack and David Halpern, and feature many close details and designs. The photographs are arranged alphabetically by building name (with a separate section of private residences), and are accompanied by biographical information.
  • Compiled research, including interviews with architects like Bruce Goff.
  • Internal documents related to the planning and creation of the book, meeting minutes and other information about the processes and procedures the Junior League undertook in this project.
  • Drafts and finished sections of the book itself. This includes essays, the bibliography, galleys, and even an unbound copy of the book tied together with ribbon. (McFarlin has several copies of the book itself, titled Tulsa Art Deco: An Architectural Era, 1925-1942)
  • 17 boxes of blueprints for the Tulsa Municipal Airport, the Union Station, and the Waite Phillips Building, among others.

    One of the blueprint drawings showing the exterior of the Tulsa Union Station, which now houses the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Coll. No. 1982.006, Blueprint 46.

Special Collections and University Archives is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8am to 4:30pm. We are located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library at The University of Tulsa. If you would like to set up a viewing appointment, please call us at (918) 631-2496, or email us at

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