McFarlin Fellows Dinner

Thursday night McFarlin Library held the first McFarlin Library Fellows Dinner of this school year. The night began with a book sale where the guest lecturer, Jane Smiley, had her novels for sale, which could then be signed by the author. The cocktail hour featured engaging conversation and I had the pleasure of meeting Smiley. During our short conversation, she discussed her childhood dream of becoming a jockey, which was later made impossible by her tall height. Following a delightful dinner, the gathered group were treated to a lecture by Smiley, a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Her talk, entitled “The Life of a Novelist,” revealed to the audience her process of approaching her novels and provided insights into the mind of an author.

The three main revelations Smiley made were related to the conception of the novel and its existence after it is created by the author. Smiley disclosed that some scenes from her works are inspired by her own experience and draw from her interests. For example, in Some Luck the youngest daughter, Claire, has to go to the eye doctor where she becomes bored and starts making up answers to the questions she is being asked. This scene was directly drawn from Smiley’s childhood when she had to go to the optometrist as a young girl. The author discussed the creation of a novel. She described it as an abstract thing that she pulls into herself and then makes concrete by writing it down. When the reader picks up the book and reads it, the book then becomes more abstract again as it now lives in the mind of the reader. Therefore, the novel is always slightly different for everyone. The one last observation Smiley shared with the audience was that every author has their own theory related to their writing or their book. This theory is written into their books and weaves its way throughout them so that to truly have an understanding of the author’s thoughts one must read many of their works and read them carefully.

Author Jane Smiley





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McFarlin Library

mcf6People at the University of Tulsa may have noticed over this last fall work being done on the McFarlin Library building. Most of this has been necessary maintenance and cosmetic repairs to the building. This began with repairing the slate roof tiles, and starting this morning, some scaffolding on the roof to snug up some minor masonry separation before it becomes an issue.

As we have discussed in the past, McFarlin Library was built beginning in 1929, and completed in 1930 along with Phillips Hall and Tyrell Hall. The architect was Henry C. Hibbs of Nashville, Tennessee. The original architectural plans are with the Henry C. Hibbs Papers, 1882- at the Nashville Public Library.

mcf3The library became a true heart of the university, and for many years graduation ceremonies were held on the west steps of the building facing the original “U”.  The student ROTC met and drilled on the “U”, and the homecoming Bonfire was held annually, just to name a few.  In our collections we have images of the bright Christmas lighting on the library that is reflected today in the holiday lighting on the Tucker Drive oval, the new “U”.

Over the years there have been three major alterations to the building. In 1967, the original tiny east wing was removed and replaced with a considerably larger structure that still remains.

mcf4In 1979, the library built the underground book stacks portion and leading to the dedication of the Albert Plaza on the west side.

mcf5In 2009, the Pauline M. Walter Technology Resources Center was dedicated on the north side of the 1967 wing, further propelling the library into the modern digital age.

As may be seen, the University strives to keep up with needs of the library and its care.


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New acquisition: Hard Times punk fanzine

Special Collections has newly acquired Hard Times, a punk fanzine that was published in Maywood, New Jersey. The magazine was focused on the punk rock scene of New York City that featured letters, interviews, pictorials, and cartoons. The original run of the magazine lasted for seven issues, from August 1984 to June/July 1985.

Hard Times, v.1, no. 3 (Oct. 1984)

Hard Times, v.1, no. 3 (Oct. 1984)

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The Charles King Library

General Charles King

General Charles King (1844-1933) was an American author who spent most of his life in the military. A graduate of West Point, he served in the Army until he was wounded at the Battle of Sunset Pass during the Yavapai War. Later in life he served as Brigadier General of Volunteers during the Spanish-American War where he helped out after the Spanish surrendered. During the Philippine-American War, he led a brigade during the Battle of Manila and the Battle of Pagsanjan. Once he returned Wisconsin, he stayed active in the Wisconsin National Guard and helped train troops during World War I.

Charles King published over 60 books and novels relating to military life, western adventure, and frontier and pioneer life. While he had published quite a bit before 1893, he lost much of his royalties when the bank he used failed. He then lost most of his books and papers in a warehouse fire. This pushed him to come out of his retirement back into the military, hence his involvement with the Volunteers from Wisconsin. He also began writing and publishing again in his non-military free-time.

In 1963, C. E. Dornbusch published a bibliography of Charles King’s books from the National Library of Australia. Many of the books in the McFarlin Library Special Collections can be found in the bibliography and have written markings to indicate if they are listed in the bibliography or if they are undocumented by Dornbusch. All of these books, including the C. E. Dornbusch bibliography can be found by searching the Charles King Library.

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Kent Frizzell Wounded Knee papers

Recently The University of Tulsa College of Law made a pastoral announcement concerning the passing of Kent Frizzell, retired Professor of Law, and Director of the National Energy Law and Policy Institute from 1977 to 1995.

Frizzell also served as United States Under Secretary of the Interior from 1975 to 1977, and as Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources from 1972 to 1973.

Special Collections and University Archives was honored to receive Frizzell’s papers, photographs, and other materials related to the Wounded Knee Occupation in South Dakota in 1973. During this period he served as Chief Government Negotiator in the capacity of Assistant Attorney General (Land and Natural Resources Division, U. S. Department of Justice) and later as Solicitor, U. S. Department of the Interior.

These historical papers and photographs are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room from 8am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Kent Frizzell, seated at third from left.

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The History of Tulsa High School Newspaper


The University of Tulsa Special Collections and University Archives houses more than just books. When looking through our oversize collection this week, I came across a folder titled Tom-Tom and, of course, I was curious as to what was inside. I quickly realized that Tom-Tom was a school newspaper published by students of Tulsa High School and Banknote Printing Company during the early 1900s.

The first edition of Tulsa’s newspaper Tom-Tom was published in 1909. It was given top ratings by the Oklahoma Inter-Scholastic Press Association and has been ranked nationally many times since 1926. Tulsa High School modeled their school paper, also called Tom-Tom, in its form. At first the school paper came out once a month but, in 1918, a class was formed specifically to distribute the paper. The name of the school paper later changed from Tom-Tom to Tulsa School Life. In 1939, the paper began to discuss news from all three Tulsa High Schools.


Tulsa High School opened in 1906. It was located on Boston Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Street. In 1913 Tulsa High School became the third school in Oklahoma to attain accreditation. In 1917 Tulsa High School became Tulsa Central High School when it opened a new school at Sixth and Cincinnati. The north half was opened in 1917 and the south half was later added in 1922. In the second volume of Tom-Tom, one student writer describes the transition between schools:

“we have entered a new building where the beautiful is all about us, [with] all the    things that the student could possibly wish for…”

Around 5,000 students attended the new school between tenth and twelfth grade. It was not until the construction of Tulsa’s freeway and the cost of downtown parking that the school decided to move its location outside of downtown. Tulsa Central High School moved to a forty-seven acre lot and campus was opened in 1976. The Old Central High campus now serves as the headquarters for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). The building was recognized by the Tulsa Foundation of Architecture as a historic Tulsa landmark.



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New and Improved! World War I pamphlets collection

Just a few of the pamphlets available for use.

Just a few of the pamphlets available for use.

In our ongoing efforts to make searching our collections more user-friendly, the World War I pamphlet collection has been updated with more searchable words to make it easier to do research. Looking for something that was published by the Commission for Relief in Belgium or how the food supply was affected by the war? Now you can search for this information and much more relating to World War I by typing in a variety of keywords into the McFarlin Library catalog. Come look at one of the 678 World War I pamphlets available from Special Collections.

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World War I Victory Gardens

WWI Victory Gardens

Many Americans are familiar with the idea of the Second World War encouraging home ‘Victory Gardens’. These have been referenced in many films, documentaries, novels, and WWII memorabilia.  This week I learned there was quite a bit of encouragement and participation in ‘Victory Gardens’ during the First World War. Victory Gardens appeared early on in the war, but several governmental approved pamphlets were published by the National War Garden Commission in 1919. These brief informative writings detailed the importance and means of starting Victory Gardens and then preserving the harvested goods.

Even though the armistice was concluded in November of 1918, the United States government was still encouraging participation in starting and maintaining Victory Gardens to aid in production of food. More Victory Gardens enabled the prices of fruits and vegetables to stay at moderate levels and more produce could be sent to troops still overseas and as war relief for devastated Europe. Not only civilians but also the military camps and bases in the U.S., assigned plots for agricultural production.   After growing the produce, the participants were urged to can and preserve the foodstuffs. Printed guides were also sent out to inform the public on the best and most efficient ways to preserve various types of products.

The Special Collections has two of these World War I  Victory Garden pamphlets, War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables and Home Canning & Drying of Vegetables & Fruits both published in 1919. These two booklets are the “Victory Edition” and on one cover the propaganda slogan “The Kaiser IS canned—can food” is visible. The pamphlets include information on the most productive garden organization, tools and tips, prevention of insects and disease, a schedule for when to plant certain seeds, and how to store specific harvested crops in different areas and save seeds for the next year’s garden.

WWI victory garden propaganda


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H.M.S. Crusader – Wireless Telegraph Signal Log

McFarlin Special Collections is home to several different collections relating to World War I.  The objects in these collections range from photographs to maps to sheet music.  One intriguing item in the collection relating to WWI is the wireless telegraph signal log from the H.M.S. Crusader.  This was a tribal class destroyer stationed in the English Channel and the North Sea from 1914-1916.  The ship won the Battle Honour for its work off the Belgian Coast defending against German naval forces.  The construction of the ship was completed in October 1909.  Its life as a naval ship was short-lived as it only saw action in World War I and was sold for scrap metal in 1920.  However, its legacy lived on in two other ships built later on which both carried the same name: H.M.S. Crusader.

The logbook in Special Collections has entries from 23 October through 2 November 1914, almost 102 years ago.  One of the beginning pages of the book sets out the instructions for how to keep the logbook properly.  One of these rules was that the captain of the ship was to check the log once a week to ensure that it was being properly kept.  Each entry contains the date and time of the transmission, which ship sent the message and which ship the message was sent to, any notes about the transmission, and the message itself.  These messages typically consisted of sightings of the enemy ships or just simple directions to the naval officers such as the entry on October 24th that states “Please make targets as simple as possible.”  This logbook can be seen at Special Collections on Monday thru Friday from 8am – 5pm.

Instruction page for logbook. Entry. Entry Entry

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Paradise Lost: A Poem in Twelve Books

The University of Tulsa Special Collections and Archives is well known for its collections of American and British Literature. Our department is fortunate enough to carry multiple editions of manuscripts. We house many editions of John Milton’s (1608 – 1674) famous epic poem, Paradise Lost. This blank verse poem depicts the Fall of Mankind through the biblical story of Satan’s temptation on Adam and Eve that banned them  from the Garden of Eden. Paradise Lost argues that separation from God parallels the sinful nature of man.


One of our earliest editions of Paradise Lost is the fourth edition, A Poem in Twelve Books, published in 1688. It was published twenty years after the first edition in 1667. This edition was one of the earliest subscription publications, which included the first illustrated edition and first folio edition. It was printed on fine quality paper adorned with sculptures in London by Miles Flesher, for Richard Bently, at the Post-Office in Russell-Street, and Jacob Tonson at the Judge’s Head in Chancery-lane near Fleet Street.

In 1688, due to the Glorious Revolution between the Whigs and Tories, Milton began to gain notice again. Milton was praised for his commitment to the republic. Jacob Tonson wanted to publish Paradise Lost in high quality print to praise Milton’s poetry and show the piece in its best form. Milton modeled Paradise Lost’s twelve books after Publius Vergilius Maro’s (Virgil) Aeneid. The illustrations in the fourth edition are dedicated to John Baptist Medina and Bernard Lens. The remainder are dedicated anonymously. Milton’s stance on a chapter’s topic is dictated through each book’s illustration.


I am always fascinated by what I can find in Special Collections and Archives. The staff of the University of Tulsa Special Collections and Archives department invites our guests to visit us and take a look at our materials.


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