New Acquisition: The Apple Tree

McFarlin Library Special Collections has acquired a new addition to our Cherokee language collection. The Apple Tree (PZ7.1.T437 2015), written by Cherokee author Sandy Tharp-Thee and  illustrated by Oklahoma artist Marlena Campbell Hodson, is a children’s book in English and Cherokee that tells the story of a young boy and his apple tree. This book was purchased with funds made available by the conditions of the deed of gift from the Jesse Bartley (J.B.) Milam Papers, coll. no. 1989.002.

Written by Sandy tharp-Thee, Illustrations by Marlena Campbell Hodson

Written by Sandy Tharp-Thee, Illustrations by Marlena Campbell Hodson

More information regarding Sandy Tharp-Thee and The Apple Tree can be found at

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Some new WWI Digital Collections uploads.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make our World War I holdings available online, several batches of photographs have been added to our WWI photographs digital collections site in March through May.

Specifically these are:

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Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter

The first dime novel

The first dime novel

A hundred and fifty-six years ago today, a new literary format was unveiled.  The Dime Novel was born in an attempt by the publishers Erastus and Irwin Beadle to make money on inexpensive, ephemeral literature entitled Beadle’s Dime Novels.  The first of this new series of books was Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens. It had a cover date of June 9, 1860.  As was common with dime novels, this work was a reprint of an earlier publication, Malaeska had been serialized in Ladies’ Companion magazine in February, March and April 1839.

Malaeska is a story of interracial marriage and many of the tragedies that result from that.  By today’s standards it is irrecoverably racist and written in a prose style that is difficult for many moderns to read.  It is however a significant window into early 19th century, and the racial politics of the time, much like Poor Sarah, which Special Collections also holds.

Dime novels were very popular, particularly with younger, working-class readers, and were snubbed by the more upper-class literati, effectively establishing the genre ghettoization still prevalent in popular literature today.  The term dime-novel itself eventually became a high-brow slur for any sort of cheap , sensational fiction.

Eventually dime-novels were superseded in the early 20th century by their heirs, the pulps.

Other in this blog on this topic can be found here.

The department of Special Collections has over 4,000 issues of dime novels, of which only a fraction have been cataloged individually.  The series currently held include the following: Adventure series, All around weekly, All Sports Library, Annapolis Series, Beadles American Sixpenny Library, Beadles Dime Biographical, Beadles Dime Dialogues, Beadles Dime Novels, Beadles, Frontier, Beadles Half Dime, Beadles Pocket, Beadles Sixpenny Tales, Bowery Boy Library, Boys Best Weekly, Buffalo Bill Borders Stories, Buffalo Bill Library, Buffalo Bill’s Far West Life, Comic Library, Comrades Tales, Cowboy Series, Deadwood Dick Library, Diamond Dick Jr. Boy’s Weekly, Do and Dare, Fame and Fortune Weekly, Far West Library, Great Western Library, Liberty Boys of the 76, Log Cabin Library, Medal Library, Merriwell Series, Frank Merriwell Stories, Might and Main Library, Millionaire Library, Munro’s ten cent novels, New Buffalo Bill Weekly, New Nick Carter Library, New Tip Top Weekly, Nick Carter Stories, Novelette Library, Ol Cap Collier Library, Old Sleuth’s Own, Pluck and Luck, Railroad Series, Red White and Blue, Secret Service, Snaps, Sports Stories, Three Chums, Tip Top Weekly, Top Notch Magazine, Western Story Library, Wide Awake Library, Wide Awake Weekly, Young Athletes Weekly, Young Rough Riders, Young Rover Library.

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Tulsa Race Riot anniversary

Ruins of the Tulsa Riot. 6-1-21.  1989.004.5.10.

Ruins of the Tulsa Riot. 6-1-21. 1989.004.5.10.

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot and the looting and destruction of the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa.  The official estimates of the death toll was 36 people; 10 White:26 Black.  Over the next year the Red Cross estimated that over 300 died as a result of the Riot. 35 blocks were destroyed including many homes, businesses, and schools.

The events still remain a controversial topic in Tulsa, and we in Special Collections are committed to continue to teach and to share the historical events.

Please join us in remembering those who lost everything in the destruction and violence of that 24 hour period, whether their stories are known or not.  And to honor and celebrate those who rebuilt afterward, in the face of official resistance.

The Department of Special Collections Digital Collections on this topic may be found online here.


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Closed for Employee Appreciation Day and Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day 2016

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be closed on Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30, 2016, in observance of Employee Appreciation Day and Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 8:00 AM. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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Where did TU’s Picasso go?

Did you know that TU Special Collections has a lithographic print by Pablo Picasso in our artwork holdings?


Picasso’s 1969 depiction of a clown, titled “Portrait Imaginaire,” is number 242 of 250 prints that Picasso made of this design, and is a part of our Dame Rebecca West papers.

Beginning in 2011, the piece was displayed in the Lorton Performing Arts Center, with oil paintings by artists like Daniel Lang and Lawrence Paul.

Recently, two of our librarians overheard some members of staff asking: where was the famous Picasso? It wasn’t hanging in its usual spot in Lorton, and something else had gone up in its place.

The story behind the Picasso’s removal is a pretty typical one, and is an important example of why good conservation and stewardship are essential to making sure that future members of the TU family will be able to enjoy artwork from our collections.

Lithographic prints are different from paintings because the inks used to produce the image have no defense against fading, while oil paintings can tolerate slightly more UV exposure. It’s important to note, however, that sun will damage all artwork eventually, and that pieces must be treated with care to extend their longevity.

“Portrait Imaginaire” was enjoyed as a public display for 5 years. Unfortunately it had been hung in a spot on an east-facing wall where it received an hour of unfiltered sunlight every morning during that time. It was decided in January that the piece needed to be assessed by a paper conservator at the Helmerich Center for American Research in order to determine with certainty what levels of damage, if any, it had experienced.

The conclusion on the report we received was clear: the original mottling on the paper, as well as the ink colors, had experienced fading due to exposure to sunlight while it was on exhibit. The paper conservator’s professional recommendation was what we expected: the piece needed to be removed and placed in a dark space with archival buffers for a “rest period” so we could ensure that it would have a good continued “life”.


So where is the Picasso now? We have it placed in a large acid-free folder with several layers of archivally-safe “buffer” paper for both pH quality and physical safety, and stored where it can enjoy some time away from the spotlight—although we welcome visitors and researchers who want to view the piece in our Reading Room.

And what about the blank space?


Hanging on the same wall now is a piece by Igor Tulipanov showing Pushkin breathing inspiration into the mind of Baudelaire. This painting was donated to Special Collections by Professor Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

If you visit the Tulipanov at Lorton, you’ll see one of these peeking out on the wall:


This is a Blue Wool Scale UV-detection strip, commonly used in museums and archival settings. As the name suggests, the blue stripes are actually strips of wool dyed blue. These cards are placed vertically, with half the strips positioned behind the frame, and left there for three months. Our librarians will be periodically checking the colors on the card to see how they change and fade over time so that we can determine how much sunlight that particular wall receives.

As you can see, the missing Picasso is no great mystery at all. It’s taking a rest and allowing other pieces from our art collections to have their own turn at public exhibition.

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Special Collections Summer Hours

Starting May 9 and ending August 5, 2016, 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

Have a great summer!

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Tulsa Audubon Society Collection

Every year, Spring is ushered into our region with the warm winds, the slow turning of brown to green foliage, and the return of our fowl friends. Though never a serious birder myself, there is something comforting and exciting about catching that first glimpse of a robin, watching a hawk soar above, or seeing the tiny nest of a sparrow when it isn’t expected.



The University of Tulsa Special Collection has a vast and fascinating collection of Tulsa Audubon Society’s material (1990.004). Donated to the Society by William Koons and Anne Reynolds, the 62 boxes hold a treasure trove of information about the Society and its ornithological records from 1935-1990.

The  collection is organized into four series. Series 1 includes administrative papers and correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, event calendars, and the Society’s newsletter, the Scissortail.





Series 2  consists of bird observation records. It contains the bird records reported to the Tulsa Audubon Society Recorder as one of the society’s activities. It also contains the Recorder’s annual reports, Christmas bird counts, Big Day bird counts, backyard birder and summer census.

Series 3 includes the files of observer’s field notes that were sent to the Recorder. They are filed by year and are the source of the records in Series 2.

Last, but most certainly not least, Series 4 consists of the papers and bird records donated to the Society by members who were particularly active in the work of the society; William H. Koons (1923-1937); Anne L. Reynolds (1953-1982); Elizabeth C. Hayes (1955-1991); Pauline B. Keating (1967-1982); and Hugh S. Davis (1930-1948).



The Tulsa Audubon Society Collection is housed off-site, so Special Collections requires a request for the materials at least 24 hours in advance. The department is open Monday through Friday, 8AM-5PM (check for holiday and summer hours by calling 918-631-2496 or emailing

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James Ronda Jazz Library

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives has received the James Ronda Jazz library and the James Ronda Library over a period of time now. The Special Collections librarians have completed cataloging the collections this week,and they will be available for reference on request through our online catalog. The jazz library has a spectacular collection of books on history of jazz, and famous jazz artists among others.

James P. Ronda, H.G. Barnard Professor of West American History at the University of Tulsa, has written several books about the Lewis and Clark expedition, most notably Lewis and Clark Among the Indians. Professor Ronda has also drawn admiration for his histories of the American West. Ronda has supervised major exhibits at the Library of Congress and lectured in its Great Hall.

A past President of the Western History Association, Ronda has also worked as a on-camera adviser for C-SPAN, BBC, and PBS, and was recently named to serve on the Advisory Committee of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. In addition to an active research and writing career, Professor Ronda has been a consultant for many museum projects, including the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Great Falls, Montana; the Washington State Historical Society’s“The Army Explores the West” exhibition; the Library of Congress Lewis and Clark Exploration exhibition; and as a member of the board of advisors, for the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Exhibition. It is worthwhile to note that University of Tulsa McFarlin Fellows has invited Professor Ronda to present lectures at the Fellows events in the past.

In addition to the libraries acquired, Special Collections also acquired a huge collection of jazz records which are processed and available for reference for patrons.


Past Fellow Speakers and Programs


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University negatives update

Special Collections has been working hard to digitize our immense archive of university negatives from the 1940s through the 1960s. It’s quite a collection, and includes cherished buildings, lawn parties on the Old U, images of North Campus in the early days, and plenty of students. These photographs of the men’s swim team date to the late 1940s or very early 1950s, judging from the golfing apparel in the surrounding photographs.


As we continue to work on these photographs, we’ll add periodic updates. We’re also working to place these images on our ContentDM site, and you can see the progress we’re making at this link.

Happy Friday, and enjoy the weekend!

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