The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new research tool.  Our Collections are now listed on a database called ArchivesSpace, and can be accessed here.

Here processed collections can be searched, as well as unprocessed materials.  They can be searched by keyword, names, subject headings, and by record groups.  There is still a bit of work to do, but it can be used right now.

Posted in General, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bobo the Clown and Circus Fascination

Most people have heard of Bozo the Clown, but what about Bobo the Clown? Chester “Bobo” Barnett was a clown throughout much of the 1900s, with his career starting in about 1920 and ending in about 1970. One of the most notable circuses he traveled with is the Cole Bros. Clyde Beatty Circus. This is also the Circus in which he met his third wife, Dorothy, with whom he would go on to have his daughter, Bonnie. Bobo also performed with the Shrine Circus, which is still in operation today. “Bobo” was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 2010, recognizing him as an outstanding clown performer with a long running career.

During his years with the Cole Bros. and Shrine Circuses, Bobo made several guest appearances, including at least one on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was famous for making people laugh, and even had the opportunity to meet some of the Presidents of the time.

His third wife, Dorothy, was a dancer in the Cole Bros. Circus, when they met. After both losing their performing partners, who actually got married to each other, they decided they should begin performing together. Shortly after, they did just that. They spent the next ten years performing side-by-side, and eventually got married and had a daughter. However, their marriage ended up failing and they decided to part ways in the early 1950’s.

Bonnie’s book about her father.

Bobo’s daughter, Bonnie, went on to live with her mother, but was remained intrigued by her father’s life. The first time she met him, she was around 4 years old, and he was in his clown makeup and costume. She recalls being scared at first but then somewhat amazed. The next time she saw him, he was not in his makeup, and she was actually terrified and didn’t recognize him. In her mind, her father was the clown, and seeing him not as a clown, well it was wrong. She spent much of her childhood seeing him only on TV and receiving gifts from him here and there. In her mid-twenties, she decided to write a book about her family, highlighting the experience of growing up with a famous clown father and an ex-circus mother. The drive behind her writing was her fascination with her father’s involvement in the circus. And she wasn’t the only one with this fascination.

At the time, the circus was a main form of entertainment, and was affordable to the general population. There weren’t many other activities where people could see acrobats and elephants all under one roof. So any time a circus was in town, you could be sure the tents would be full by show time.

Bobo and his dog practicing for the big night!

Here at McFarlin Special Collections, we are lucky enough to several albums that showcase the Circus of the 1900s. Within these albums, you can find pictures of backstage operations of several different circuses, including the Cole Bros. Clyde Beatty Circus. The photographs range from animals, to performers, to transport and train cars. They provide the audience with a detailed look at what circus life was like behind the scenes. Among these albums, you can also find one that contains photographs of Chester “Bobo” Barnett himself. One such photograph is presented here.

The circus has remained a fascinating affair, despite controversy in recent years, and Clowns have remained an integral part of circus entertainment, despite their occasional negative representation in popular culture (most recently, the remake of Stephen King’s “IT”). If you find yourself curious about the Circus and the mysterious lives of the performers, feel free to stop by Special Collections during our hours of operation (Monday-Friday: 8:00-4:30) and take a peek at one of the albums for yourself.





Posted in Circus, Collections, McFarlin Library, Popular Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alexandre Hogue, 1898-1994

We had very special guests this weekend at the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. A group from ZCZ Films, a UK film company, was commissioned by the BBC to produce a three part series on American Art. The series is expected to come out at the end of 2017 and will be presented by Waldemar Januszczak of the Sunday Times. ZCZ’s primary goal is to inform British audiences of the vast amount of art produced from America during the 19th and 20th century with the inclusion of lesser known artists. They were most intrigued by our vast collection of works by Alexandre Hogue. Some of our most popular Hogue paintings include ‘Lava Capped Mesa, Big Bend’ (1976) and ‘Howdy Neighbor’ (1936), which is the only self-portrait of Hogue.

Alexandre Hogue was an American realist painter who was part of the Dallas Nine during the 1930s to 1940s. Hogue grew up in Dallas, Texas, and was later employed as the Dallas Morning News illustrator and Texas State College for Women art teacher. At one point, he briefly moved to New York to work in calligraphy but, eventually, settled back in Texas to paint. Our very own Adrian Alexander, Dean of McFarlin Library, told us a story of how Hogue made instruction manuals with hand drawings during World War II for individuals who were illiterate or semiliterate.

A majority of Hogue’s work focuses on Southwestern and Midwestern landscape. During 1945 to 1963, Hogue was head of the Art Department here at the University of Tulsa. That is why McFarlin Library, Gilcrease Museum, and Philbrook Museum of Art hold some of Hogue’s works.

If you are interested in learning more about their work, here is a link to Waldemar’s website and the ZCZ company website where past productions can be found. To view the Hogue Collection (Coll. No. 1968.001) or any of our other collections, please visit our department on the fifth floor of the McFarlin Library anytime Monday to Friday from 8:00 until to 4:30 p.m.


Posted in Acquisitions, artwork, Collections, Events, History, Hours, McFarlin Library, News, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph Moller Photograph album of Kelly Field (San Antonio, TX) 1918-1919

McFarlin Special Collections and Archives has many World War I collections that include clothing, diaries, letters, and photographs. One of these collections, the Joseph Moller Photograph album of Kelly Field 1918-1919 (2011.0.36), consists of 93 photographs with handwritten captions on black paper. These images depict pilots in training, planes in flight and formations, close-ups of different parts of the planes, and the camp itself.

Joseph Moller was born at the turn of the 20th century. He lived in St. Louis and New York for much of his childhood and even worked on a ranch in Montana for a period of time. He enlisted in 1917 and was sent to Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas to “earn his wings.” He was made a second lieutenant in 1918 but does not seem to have seen any action in World War I. However, he remained in the military reserves and when the U.S. entered World War II he joined in the fight. He became a colonel and was placed in command of the 390th Bombardment group. Throughout WWII he flew 49 combat missions and received 16 medals for his work in the war including a Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with several clusters, the Legion of Merit, and medals from both the French and Polish governments. After the war he went back to his job at Pure Oil for a couple of years and then went on to own a ranch outside of Tucson, Arizona named M-Flying-M ranch. While living in Arizona he and his wife helped establish the 390th Memorial Museum in Tucson where there is a library named after Moller containing the complete records of his unit’s missions in WWII.

All of the photographs in the album are accompanied by detailed captions that tell stories about the people and the aircrafts in the images. One photo shows a plane has flipped over on the ground. According to Moller, the very narrow wheels on the landing mechanism is to blame for this incident. The narrow wheels forced the weight of plane as it was landing onto such a small surface area that they would dig into the ground, not allowing the plane to slow down very affectively, and the weight of the nose would then pull the plane forward causing it to flip.  Another image shows a crashed plane which Moller explains was constructed by him and some of the other men in training from spare parts and a motorcycle engine. The men fought over who would get to fly it first but it crashed on the first attempt and they gave up on building another one. An image taken by one pilot of another plane in flight slightly below the one the photographer is in shows how the well-known portraits of pilots mid-flight were taken. The plane slightly below the other would have a camera attached to it and the person in the back pilot’s seat would take a photograph of the pilot of the aircraft slightly above and to the side of the other. These are only a few small examples of the interesting images and information that can be found in Joseph Moller’s album.

To view this or any other of our collections please check out our finding aid here or stop by our department on the fifth floor of McFarlin Library anytime Monday thru Friday 8am until 4:30pm.

Posted in Collections | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

To Ban or not to Ban?

To Ban or not to Ban?

Tomorrow concludes Banned Books Week for 2017. Banned Books Week has been around since 1982, in response to what many describe as a sudden rise in books that were not permitted in schools, libraries, and even particular bookstores.

Over the years, a full list of banned books has been compiled. This list is put together by reports from audiences about books being banned, as well as voluntary reports from schools and libraries about books they banned themselves. You may be surprised to hear some of the names at the top of the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby are two of the most commonly banned books throughout history, at least back to 1990 when a credible record has been kept. To Kill a Mockingbird is listed as having too many racial slurs, offensive language, and simply not being suited to the age groups in which it was presented, while The Great Gatsby is listed as containing offensive language and sexual content.

Not only is there a complete list of books over the years, but every year, a new list of the top 10 banned books for that year is compiled and shared with the public. The books that make these lists from year to year may come as a shock to some.

Harry Potter (entire series) made the list in 2002 and 2003 for “occult/Satanic references and violence”. I don’t know about you, but as I was reading about the adventures of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, all I could think about was how jealous I was they went to a school for magic.

The Hunger Games made the list in 2010 for being “sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and encouraging violence”. However, when the remainder of the trilogy was released in 2011, the two additional books were added to the list and the reasoning expanded to “anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic, and violence”.

The Color Purple is one of those special books that not only makes the all-time most banned books list, but it also pops back up on the yearly banned books list from time to time, one of those times being in 2007. To Kill a Mockingbird also popped back up on the yearly list in 2009.

Found in Special Collections!!!

While these books are banned in some places, in our effort to hold world class rare books, and provide excellent research tools to a diverse population, we welcome them in McFarlin Special Collections. We have books that have popped up on the list from year to year, as well as a large amount that make the all-time most banned list. In our collections you’ll find To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Grapes of Wrath, just to name a few.

Interested in seeing or reading one of the books mentioned above? Or maybe a different banned book you’ve been curious about? Feel free to come by Special Collections and see what we have. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..



Posted in Guide to Literary and Related Materials, literature, News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian Official War Record – Lantern Slides

The University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives is well-known for its World War collections. We currently have an exhibit on World War I, so I began to browse our storage room to familiarize myself with the vast amount of other accessible WWI materials. I happened to find the Canadian official war record: magic lantern slides (Coll. No. 2001.025). There are forty-nine slides dated 1914 to 1918. These slides depict scenes of soldiers, battlefields, hospitals, and cities primarily located in France.

One fascinating image is of the Ypres Cathedral located in Belgium (Slide No. 453). Original construction began in 1230 but the building was rebuilt many times as a result of war damage, including World War I. The building was completely abolished from 1922-1930 and rebuilt from the original plans but with a higher spire. On the left is the Canadian lantern slide and on the right is the Cathedral today.

Another fascinating image is titled Canadian Red Cross men in action (Slide No. 753). During World War I, the Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS) donated money to support refugees return to demolished parts of Europe. Women and men from church groups and clubs also provided clothing and medical supplies. On the action front, CRCS set up headquarters in London. They were active with allied hospitals locating missing soldiers and keeping records of the sick and injured.

These slides were created by the Canadian War Records Office. Negatives, numbered around 2,000, were reproduced to display Canadian participation in World War I. They were used to promote Canada’s tie to Britain at a public exhibit.

To view this collection or any of our other materials, please come visit Special Collections during normal business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can also access our Library Catalog and Collection A-Z list from home to search through our materials.

Have a great day!

Posted in Collections, Events, Exhibits, History, Hours, McFarlin Library, World War I | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New in Digital Collections: September 2017

Special Collections at The University of Tulsa McFarlin Library is pleased to note that we have recently added new entries to our growing digital collections site.

Over the summer we applied for and received a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries to update the old finding aid for our Indians of North America collection. That set of documents is what’s known as an artificial collection, which means that it’s actually a group of items brought together because of their subject similarities; in this case, Native American history. IONA has changed substantially since its initial creation in 1975, so a thorough overhaul was definitely needed.

Working on this project is an OU student earning her library degree named Avery, and she’s been doing a great job! She found several items of interest among the documents, which we’ve scanned and put on ContentDM.

  • The first is a typewritten, unofficial copy of Senate Bill No. 2, written in 1905 and dismissed by the White House in 1906. It’s signed by Teddy Roosevelt on the last page. The bill concerns whether the Cherokee Nation could retain its principal and vice principal chiefs for a certain period of time. You can view it here.
  • Avery also located a letter from the Baron de Carondelet (Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet) to his son.  Carondelet was a member of the Spanish aristocracy and the governor of Louisiana until 1797, the year this letter was written. He was very much against the U.S. efforts in western expansion during this period, and made alliances with various Native American tribes to prevent encroachment on access to the Mississippi River. Carondelet also granted slaves some rights for quality of life, and ignored the resulting protests from slaveholders, choosing instead to improve his relationship with slaves and freedmen in the Spanish colonies. You can view his correspondence describing his relationship with a group of Cherokee warriors here.
  • Lastly, we have a letter from Silas Dinsmoor (also spelled Dinsmore), the Agent for the Cherokee from the United States, written to James McHenry, the Secretary of War for the United States. Dinsmoor describes his efforts to purchase looms and ploughs for white settlers to use to teach Native Americans how to use them. You can view that letter here.

Separate from our Indians of North America collection, we’ve also added quite a bit of the Charles Alfred Bredin World War I papers to its own separate category on ContentDM. Bredin wrote quite frequently to Grace Manning, and describes working in the post office in New York City. The collection also contains photographs of Bredin in uniform, and has some post-war slice-of-life ephemera in the form of furniture store account books for the items that Grace (later Mrs. Bredin) purchased as the couple moved from Jamaica Bay to Tulsa. You can view those items here.

Posted in Digital Collections, General, History, World War I | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aaron Burr Writ for Arrest

Thanks to history classes in middle school and the Broadway show Hamilton, most people immediately associate the name Aaron Burr with the fatal duel between him and Alexander Hamilton. However, Aaron Burr was an important figure in earlier American history through politics and his career as an attorney. In December of 1800 Aaron Burr ran in the fourth presidential election that our young country held. A little over a month prior to this infamous election, Aaron Burr had a legal issue brought against him. Despite the fact that I have had trouble finding mention of this dispute in any of the biographies of Aaron Burr, I know of this event thanks to one small box in McFarlin Special Collections and Archives.

This one item is a Writ of Arrest (2014.037) issued against Aaron Burr on October 26, 1800. This warrant issued by the State of New York calls for the arrest of Aaron Burr so he may be brought before the Supreme Court of Albany on the third Tuesday of January 1801. This legal action is to ensure that a debt incurred by Burr may be paid to the estate of a person whose name was indecipherable on the warrant. Burr was called to the court date by Harriet Saltonstall, Frederick Babcock, and Cortland Babcock who are the executors of the will.  The total owed for the debt is $7,840; an additional $17.09 is requested by the executors in payment of damages and for the cost of the case being brought against Burr. This payment today could have totaled anywhere from $113,000 to $152,000. The Writ for Arrest was signed by an attorney by the name of Henry Masterton. It is interesting that this issue, especially since it was a debt of such a large sum, was not brought up during the presidential election. Although Burr lost the election after a tie between him and Thomas Jefferson and was appointed as Vice-president under Jefferson, this was due more to the personal stances of the men in the House of Representatives and not because of any legal grounds against Burr. One of the more fascinating aspects of the warrant is the way the date is written as “the twenty fourth year of our Independence” revealing the remaining strong feelings of the Revolution.

We have very few items related to the American Revolution and early American history so it is very interesting that we have this piece from that time period. This just proves that you never know what you may come across in our collections. To view this item or any of our other materials you can visit Special Collections on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library Monday thru Friday from 8am to 5pm. You can view our finding aid here.

Posted in Collections | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

McFarlin Library: A View from the Top

The majority of students at the University of Tulsa have been into the McFarlin Library at some point, whether it was on their campus tour, or to print that paper they finished last-minute before heading to class. But how many of them have been onto the roof of the tower? While the exact number isn’t known, you can be sure that number is small. Last week, two GAs from Special Collections decided to make the journey to show people what a view from the top looks like.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Murphy, and myself climbed the rickety ladder and made our way out of the hatch onto the roof, no easy task I might add. The ladder is the same one that was present when the library was originally built in 1929 and 1930. And there is a (roughly) three-foot gap between the top of this ladder and the edge of the hatch. Add into this attempting to undo multiple locking mechanisms, and you can see why so few have taken on the task.

The roof itself is nothing glamorous, simply a flat surface with some drains to keep standing water from lingering. However, the view is different story. From the top of the library, you can see what I would argue is one of the best views of downtown that Tulsa has to offer. Not to mention you can also see for miles past this on a clear day, which we were lucky enough to have for our trip. When Robert and Ida McFarlin, the library’s primary benefactors, gave their gift, they made the stipulation that the view of downtown never be blocked. So this wonderful view is something that will be appreciated for years to come, both by those lucky enough to stand on the tower roof, and by those who grace the front steps of the library alike. From the roof, you also get an up close and personal look at the spires that adorn each corner of the tower. While they look rather minuscule from the ground, they towered over Jennifer and I, easily tripling us in height.

During our trip to the roof, we made sure to take several pictures, some of which can be seen below.

The spire!

What a view!

The ladder….yikes!

While not everyone can access the roof of McFarlin library, students, as well as the public, do have access to information about the library itself. Ever wondered what those men and women signs on the outer South and North walls are? What about the stages in which the library was built? Well, the good news is, Special Collections at McFarlin Library has the answers to those questions, and so many more. Special Collections is lucky enough to have in their procession the original blueprints for McFarlin Library. Guests are always welcome to come in and view collections during our hours which are Monday thru Friday, 8:00-4:30. Several of our collections are also digitized and available online. Melissa Kunz’s blog post about the newly digitized blueprints can be found at:


Posted in Digital Collections, McFarlin Library, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

McFarlin Library blueprints are now available online

Recently Special Collections added the original floor plans for McFarlin Library to our ContentDM website. Those images are available for viewing at this link.

These materials have obviously changed as the library has grown and changed use purposes for different areas of the building. Obviously the library has undergone construction as well, adding two new sections of the building itself: the east end where Special Collections is located in the late 1960s, and more recently the computer labs at the northern end of the building in 2007.

The floor plans are undated and lack a credited architectural agency, but as we have received requests in the past to see the McFarlin floor plans, we thought it would be a good idea to post them to our digital collections site.

Posted in Collections, Digital Collections, History | Tagged , , | 1 Comment