Special Collections Summer and Holiday Hours

Starting Friday, June 2, and ending Friday, August 4, 2017, the hours of operations for McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be as follows:

Monday-Thursday                 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Friday                                       8:00 AM-12:00 PM

Memorial Day hours

We will close at  12:00 PM on Thursday, May 24, and reopen at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

Fourth of July hours

We will be closed Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Have a great summer!

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Barbara Santee archive of Oklahoma women’s reproductive rights and ancillary materials

That’s quite a title for a blog post, but we’re happy to announce that the Barbara Santee collection of reproductive rights materials is now fully processed and accessible to interested researchers!

Reproductive rights activist Barbara Santee at the Oklahoma Capitol with her reproductive rights button collection, as displayed on a mannequin. Some of her buttons are seen here.

The Santee collection comprises 61 boxes within several distinct records series:

  • Series 1 is made up of personal papers, including correspondence and her creative works. Santee wrote extensive memoirs and even a couple of plays.
  • Series 2 is professional writings such as essays and newspaper columns. Santee wrote prolifically for Oklahoma-based news organizations.
  • Series 3 is paperwork related to hundreds of organizations. This includes both the pro-choice groups she helped to run, as well as pro-life groups that she included in her research and opinion pieces.
  • Series 4 are the papers from the Reproductive Services clinic here in Tulsa. Sherri Finik was the director of the clinic during the 1980s and 1990s, and this is a distinct series showing the day-to-day operations and unique challenges that a clinic faced. There is quite a bit of hate mail and information related to bombings and acid attacks.
  • Series 5 is Santee’s research. She wrote about reproductive rights, but did a lot of academic work on population control and statistics. Quite a few of these papers are scholarly medical works.
  • Series 6 are artifacts such as Santee’s photo albums, her button collection, and her audio and video collections. Some of the videos are home-made recordings of anti-abortion protesters outside of Reproductive Services. We’ve digitized those and several PSAs put together by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Santee’s papers also included information on the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, which she studied and wrote about, and those papers will be included in our Race Riot archive.

This collection also came to Special Collections with many books and periodicals, which are being cataloged.

Special Collections welcomes researchers interested in this collection and our many others. If you’d like to view any of our collections, we are open to the public Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm. Please contact us at speccoll@utulsa.edu for information on how to schedule an appointment and gain access to the materials we house.

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Tulsa Women’s Club Papers

Women’s Club Movement: At the start of the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, clubs founded and patronized by women and intended for women were increasing in popularity and influence across the United States. At a time when much of the work force was closed to women, the club organizations provided a channel for their creative energy, social interaction, and community development. Many of these clubs were the driving force behind philanthropic and educational objectives.  One of these early clubs was established in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Tulsa Women’s Club was founded in February 5th 1906, a year before statehood. Their motto was “In essential, Unity; in nonessentials Liberty; in all things Charity.” The club color was yellow and the club flower was goldenrod. Club slogan: “the Golden Rule”. The Club was nationally federated in 1910 and joined the NFWC—the National Federation of Women’s Clubs.

The Tulsa Women’s Club endeavored, with eventual and significant success, to increase the opportunities and interest in cultural capital activities in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma and surrounding towns. The purpose of the organization as stated in Article two of the Tulsa Women’s Club constitution was that the object of the organization “[s]hall be to consider and present the best means for securing the higher intellectual, physical, mental and moral development for all, with a view to the improvement of the civic conditions of the city, the securing of a free public library, and developing a study of art in our public schools.”

The University of Tulsa Special Collections and University Archives has many books and archive items pertaining to Tulsa history. The Tulsa Women’s Club papers was acquired by the University of Tulsa in 1979. This collection contains meeting minutes, activities, club publications, press cuttings, photographs, club correspondence, scrapbooks, and other ephemera. The collection spans the years 1909-1976. The Tulsa Women’s Club was a member of the Oklahoma State Federation of Women’s Clubs which, in turn, was part of a national organization called the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). The Tulsa Historical Society also has a collection of Tulsa Women’s Club papers.

The earliest club log book in the TU collection is from 1919. Mrs. O W. Hunt was the club historian for the 1918-1919 term. This and other log books contain names of club members, tallies of dues paid and funds donated, meeting minutes, receipts, newspaper clippings, etc. In the 1919 book, Hunt endeavored to record the earlier history of the club and hoped future historians would add to her information. In 1919 Hunt writes “Living up to the ideals expressed in the constitution, no forward movements in Tulsa has failed to find representatives of the club working on committees, on serving in the ranks.”

In 1919, when writing on the progress and scope of the club’s thirteen years active work, Hunt eloquently asserts,

“Nothing which can uplift has been overlooked. Together with arts and Literature, programs have been arranged for special days, Father’s – Mother’s – Baby – Bible – Arbor and numerous others of no less importance and interest have received special attention. Much ground has been covered, the members of the club have traveled on foot; in stage coaches; automobiles; prairie schooners, Pullman Palace Cars, aeroplanes; aerial cable cars and submarines. They have conversed with noted artists – argued with statesmen and politicians, laughed with humorists and or actors; consulted doctors and dentists; interviewed editors and authors, have even invaded the schoolroom and college. Nor has Congress and the courts of our beloved land been neglected…By first class and steerage they have visited many lands, learned many things – good and bad – happy and sorrowful; they have approved and disapproved, criticized and complimented, and through it all have learned – at least in part – that “True worth is in being – not seeming – In doing each day that goes bye – some little good = not in the dreaming of great things to do bye and bye.”

The Tulsa Women’s Club soon succeeded in creating a public library and facilitating artistic and literature appreciation by the citizens of Tulsa. Today many Tulsans are proud to support local arts and philanthropic causes. The public library has expanded and thrived over the years. Today there are over 20 branches and resource centers around the city. The city boasts of two world renowned art museums, Gilcrease and Philbrook, and over 25 other museums and galleries. Although the Tulsa Women’s Club is no longer in existence, the organization’s unending zeal and aspirations, during its 70 year tenure, has profoundly influenced the modern culture and development of the city of Tulsa.





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Yevgeny Yevtushenko

It has been nearly 3 weeks since Yevgeny Yevtushenko passed away in Tulsa.  I tried to take several of his classes as an undergraduate student but by the time I was able to register they were always already full.  This speaks to the popularity and influence of Yevtushenko at TU.  Prior to writing this post, I knew that Yevtushenko was an award winning Russian poet but I had no idea of the impact he had in post-Stalin Russia.

Yevtushenko on cover of Time Magazine, April 13, 1962

Yevtushenko was born on July 18, 1933 in Zima Junction in Siberia.  He claimed that his love of poetry started at a young age when his father, a geologist, would take him on his work expeditions and read poetry to him on these trips.  He first gained recognition for his writings around the age of 16 but did not become renowned until after Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953.  He did have success in Russia prior to this, but has since referred to his poems from that time as “hack work.”  Those early works were more acceptable to the Soviet culture but soon after Stalin’s death his writings began chastising the government and its actions.  His most famous poem, “Babi Yar,” criticized the Soviet government’s refusal to build a memorial at the sight of a Jewish massacre by German soldiers in Ukraine during World War II.  This writing highlighted the atrocities of the event and gained him world-renown.  Many of the articles I read on Yevtushenko mentioned his charisma and the power he had when reciting his poems.  His recitations seemed to have been more of a theatrical event rather than just a simple reading and often left the audience in stunned silence.  Although Yevtushenko was known and celebrated for his disapproval of the Soviet government, in more recent years he has been criticized for not being critical enough.  Many other Russian writers who became prominent at the same time as Yevtushenko were exiled or imprisoned for speaking out against the government.  On the other hand, Yevtushenko’s denunciations were mostly supported by the government as it removed itself from the more severe aspects of Stalin’s Russia.  However, a Russian woman was quoted in a New York Times article defending him saying that he was brave enough to speak out when many were not and he should not be accosted for surviving his criticism.  Among his other accomplishments, Yevtushenko was elected to the first freely elected Russian Parliament.


A few pages of “Gorbachev in Oklahoma.”

McFarlin Special Collections and Archives has a small collection of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poems that was acquired in 1996.  It consists of handwritten and typed writings in both Russian and English.  There are various versions of the poem “Gorbachev in Oklahoma” as he worked on it and made different edits to it.  Many of the writings are signed by Yevtushenko.  The writer also donated a painting to the department which can currently be seen on display in the Lorton Performing Arts Center.  More information on the painting can be found in this earlier blog post: http://orgs.utulsa.edu/spcol/?p=4382.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko lived a very interesting life and the few writings of his that I have read have been very eloquent and moving.  It is not possible that this blog post could properly encapsulate his life and works and I strongly encourage readers to do more research on Yevtushenko.  Here is a wonderful article from the New York Times that explores his life: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/world/europe/yevgeny-yevtushenko-dead-dissident-soviet-poet.html?_r=0.

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McFarlin Fellows Dinner: An Evening with Tim Blake Nelson

This past Thursday, April 6th, the Special Collections department and McFarlin Fellows hosted the last dinner and reception for the 2016-2017 year. The evening started off promptly at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and conversation in the Faculty Study Lounge. Following the cocktail hour, attendees moved downstairs for dinner in the Pat and Arnold Brown Study Hall. Dinner included delicious dishes of wedge salad with blue cheese, lamb chops, and chocolate cake.

After dinner, Adrian Alexander, Dean of McFarlin Library, introduced the speaker for the evening: Tim Blake Nelson – American actor, writer, and director.

Tim Nelson, originally from Tulsa, graduated high school from Holland Hall in 1982. A surprising fact about Nelson is that he played soccer with a few members of the McFarlin Fellows. He attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center in Lone Wolf. Nelson was inducted as an honorary member into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at the University of Tulsa in 2009.

Nelson was excited to be at The University of Tulsa to speak in front of friends, as well as his mother, Ruth, who is well known for her philanthropic work around Tulsa. He began his lecture by manipulating his voice to show techniques he was taught during graduate school. Nelson was 1 of 20 selected out of 1200 to attend Julliard. While at school, he was primarily taught stage acting through plays by Shaw and Shakespeare. He knew that if he could succeed as one of their characters, he could succeed on screen. He was recruited for his first film after a performance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One of his better known movies O Brother, Where Art Thou?, loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey and Sullivan’s Travels, received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2002, which included Nelson singing “In the Jailhouse Now.”

The part of his speech that resonated with me the most was Nelson’s description of us as a society. We are impatient people. We expect films to give us everything that we want instantly. Advances in technology have impacted the way we approach story-telling. Thank goodness we are a society where our primary medium – words, sounds, and images – allows us to have an unlimited amount of resources to pull from. Nelson said the greatest thing about the industry is that it does not require people to have the highest means or level of education to enjoy it. Nelson’s lecture was marvelous to say the least. One individual in the audience even described his speech as a “rockin’ great lecture.”

Nelson has recently collaborated with James Franco, whom Nelson says has made him a more motivated actor, writer and director. He will appear in a movie next month called “Colossal” directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Nelson is currently working on his next project – a modern day adaptation of Don Quixote filmed in Louisiana. The Department of Special Collections cannot wait to see what he does next.

The McFarlin Fellows are an integral group whose donations help McFarlin Special Collections and University Archives purchase new collections. The University of Tulsa prides itself for being a lead research institution that embraces a liberal arts foundation. Our collections contribute to this mantra through its appeal to researchers who visit McFarlin Library from around the world. To find out more about the McFarlin Fellows visit: https://utulsa.edu/mcfarlin-library/giving-to-mcfarlin/mcfarlin-fellows/.

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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Early Women Writers: Baroness Emmuska Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the ingenious work by Hungarian born Baroness Emmuska Orczy. Though a relatively unknown work of fiction, the Scarlet Pimpernel is the ancestor of the modern superhero. A would be hero disguises his true identity, confounds evil doers, rescues the afflicted from certain death, and wins the heart of his true love, all the while maintaining his honor and sense of fair play. This story incorporates all of the swashbuckling tropes we have come to expect from adventure stories; daring escapes, sword fights, clever disguises, and true love.

Written first as a stage play in 1903, the unprecedented and unexpected success of the stage production encouraged Orczy to write out a novelization of the script in 1905 and over the years added many sequels.  While always returning to her favorite character of Sir Percival Blakeney, Orczy also wrote many other novels and detective stories. Her character Lady Molly of Scotland Yard was one of the first professional female detectives in fiction. In her short story collection Old Man in the Corner, she creates one of the earliest armchair detectives, who solves crimes from afar using logic. Orczy was very popular during her life time, today the Scarlet Pimpernel is her most well-known work.

Baroness Emmuska Orczy was born in Hungary in the mid-nineteenth century to an aristocratic family. After attending schools in Paris and Brussels the family moved to London where Orczy would fall in love with England’s land and culture. There she met her British illustrator husband Montague MacLean Barstow, who would edit and review her writings. Orczy started seriously writing stories at the start of the twentieth century to supplement her husband’s meager income as an artist. The success of The Scarlet Pimpernel play launched Orczy into the literary world. Focusing mainly on historical fiction, she would publish over fifty novels, nine collections of short stories, five plays, and translated several Hungarian texts with her husband. Her autobiography Links in the Chain of Life was her last work published in 1947. Orczy died on November 12 1947. As an early female author, Orczy has greatly influenced modern genres but is practically unrecognized for her creativity and efforts by readers and scholars.

In the Special Collections. The University of Tulsa Special Collections has several early editions of Orczy’s works, including a first edition of her novel I Will Repay, one of the Pimpernel sequels.  Many of her novels are now in the Public Domain and may be accessed electronically on different websites such as Project Gutenberg or Blakeneymanor.com. One of the collecting goals of the Tulsa Special Collections is early women writers. Along with Orczy’s books, TU has the personal papers of Edith Nesbit, and works by Aphra Behn, a seventeenth century British playwright and poet. The Special Collections also has the “19th century women’s literature collection” consisting of 169 items. This collection was established by former TU professor Germaine Greer.



“Baroness Emmuska Orczy.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 29 Dec. 2015. academic.eb.com.ezproxy.lib.ou.edu/levels/collegiate/article/Baroness-Emmuska-Orczy/57305. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

Orczy, Emmuska O. Links in the Chain of Life. London: Hutchinson, 1949. Print.

Robb, Brian J. A Brief History of Superheroes. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 2014. Print.

“The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 21 Jul. 2011. academic.eb.com.ezproxy.lib.ou.edu/levels/collegiate/article/The-Scarlet-Pimpernel/486520. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017


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The BOOM days: Prosperity and Pain in Each Barrel of Crude

Not to worry–this exhibit is not a mad-dog, environmentalist commentary on the evils of the petroleum industry!   What it is, is a glimpse into the life of the oil field worker during the early days of the oil boom–in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.  The exhibit is also a recognition of the fact that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries–whether you were a roughneck, a tankie, a pipe-liner, or a shooter–your job as an oil field worker was not a glamorous one; and to say it was hard work would be the greatest of understatements.

The personal recollections of John P. “Slim” Jones

So often they endured 18-hour work days, lousy food, and extreme weather conditions.  Many a worker lost his life in a horrendous accident on the rig, by asphyxiation in a storage tank, or by being blown to bits while wiring explosives.   Needless to say, these hardy, courageous men, played a crucial role in Oklahoma statehood as well as in the growth and vitality of cities like Tulsa.

Story of Oil model kit






We hope that you will be inspired to come visit our exhibit now showing in McFarlin’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives.  On display you will see a fine selection of photographs, maps, artefacts, and publications from collections such as:

Oil Refinery model kit

Oklahoma collection, Coll. no. 2006.012

General historical manuscripts,documents and photographs, Coll. no. 1981.008

Story of Oil model kits, Coll. no. 2013.052

Cushing, Oklahoma oil field

International Petroleum Exposition (IPE) archive, Coll. no. 1982.007






The exhibit will continue from now to August 2017, and is free and open to the public.

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Bob Dylan Archive now open to select applicants—at the Helmerich Center for American Research

Even a full year after The University of Tulsa and the George Kaiser Family Foundation completed their acquisition of the Bob Dylan Archive, we here at Special Collections still get phone calls and emails from curious and enthusiastic Dylan fans around the world asking if they can come take a peek.

The 6,000-item strong collection, including lyric sheets and other materials, is not housed here in McFarlin Library, but rather at the Helmerich Center for American Research, located at the Gilcrease Museum.

A new Rolling Stone article indicates that researchers wishing to view and work with the collection can submit applications to the collection librarian for approval.

Even better news is that plans for a public exhibit area, to be known as the Bob Dylan Center, are underway. The future display space will be in the Brady Arts District. TU and GKFF are currently accepting design proposals for the public archive. An opening date for the public Bob Dylan Center has not yet been announced.

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Richard Assmann Pencil Sketches

Some of our collections consist of hundreds of books or thousands of pages housed in hundreds of boxes, but some are small enough to fit into one slim envelope-type box.  The Richard Assmann Pencil Sketches (2003.032) may seem unassuming but that does not make them any less interesting.  This entire collection is made up of 2 small pencil sketches on paper that measures 7X9 inches. McFarlin Special Collections and Archives purchased these 2 delicate images in 2003 from Tavistock Books.

Richard Assmann (1887-1965) was an illustrator from Germany who found himself in Europe during World War I.  When doing a search for him, there are few sources related to this artist but many for the meteorologist and the TV personality of the same name.  The most interesting result related to this artist is for an ebay-like website that deals strictly in collectible postcards.  This site has more than 120 postcards illustrated by Assmann ranging in subject from religious scenes with saints to public figures such as Ottokar Kernstock to scenes of everyday life in Germany.

The two pencil sketches in our collection are both dated to 1915 and are signed by the artist.  They are captioned in German.  The caption for the first sketch translates to “Galacian Tragedy. A Mother’s Funeral.”  It shows two small children riding in a cart on top of a casket.  The cart is pulled by a cattle with a man walking beside it.  The young boy carries shovel while the man, presumably the father, carries a small cross.  The three figures all have down-turned faces.  The second sketch, entitled “German Artillery Observer in Ostruco,” shows two very tall ladders with a man sitting atop each one.  These men are looking through some sort of device off into the distance.  In the foreground, there is a small group of soldiers paired off into smaller groups of two or three.  These soldiers observe the work being done on the ladders and one uses a pair of binoculars to look off in the same direction as the men on the ladders.  Though these sketches may be small, they have a strong attention to detail and the creases in the soldiers’ clothes are meticulously drawn.

To see the Richard Assmann Pencil Sketches or any of our other collections come see us during our operating hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm).

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Perry Douglas Erwin letters

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives has an extensive World War I Collection. Our department has been collecting World War I material since the 1970s with the acquisition of hundreds of unit histories and other books comprising the original “World War I Library.” We house over a hundred separate collections of diaries, letters, photographs, and artifacts relating to the war. We are in the process of making these collections available online.

Our Perry Douglas Erwin letters (2007.009) are part of our digital collections. Perry Douglas Erwin was born in Johnson, Nebraska on March 24, 1893 and died in November 1964. Vivian Conley was born in 1894 in Kansas. Perry and Vivian married in August 1917. Perry was a lieutenant in the 9th Field Artillery during World War I.

The Erwin letters were found in an antique store in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The letters date from January 9, 1918 to January 29, 1919. The collection consists of 173 letters from Erwin’s wife, Vivian (occasionally spelled Viviene), while he was stationed at Fort Still, Oklahoma and other locations. Vivian Erwin also wrote other correspondents, including Erwin’s sisters Harriet, Dorothy, and J.E.F; Erwin’s mother and father; Margaret Wyndham, a Henry Kendall College alumna and faculty member. There is also one letter from Erwin to his parents. His mother and sister may have also written him. Six unidentified photos accompany Vivian’s letter of May 3rd, 1918. One of the women in the photographs may have been Vivian because she appears repeatedly in the set.

This collection originally caught my eye because of its connection to The University of Tulsa. The University of Tulsa, originally Henry Kendall College, was founded in 1894 in Muskogee. Both Perry and Vivian attended Henry Kendall College, which moved to Tulsa in 1907. He did not graduate but she did. She was also the 1913 class president. In a letter from Vivian to Perry, Vivian writes,

“I saw the girls there dancing – it bro’t back memories to me – of my life at H.KC. I was very happy there.”

For more information on the history of Henry Kendall College, please refer to our blogs from last March.

The letters detail Vivian’s daily life in Oswego, Kansas, where she lived with her parents during the war. She often writes about her health, but, most importantly, she writes of her hope for Perry’s safety and desire to see him again. In one letter dated August 24, 1918, she said,

“Honey man, I’m just living for the time when I can again take you in my arms and love you.”

She also repeatedly recounts stories of her time with Perry before the war. Her letters have a tone of desperation to know Perry’s whereabouts and how he fares both physically and emotionally. Another letter from Vivian dated September 15, 1918 reads,

“Why on earth don’t you write? Are you under quarrantine [sic] – have they transferred you, or what? You’re not tired of writing letters to me are you?”

After the war, Perry was a Newspaper Carrier and they lived near Okmulgee.

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.

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