Christine Kermaire’s Schengen’s Kit

Special Collections has recently acquired an artist book created by Christine Kermaire.

Schengen’s Kit: Rules and advices for survival of refugees at sea was inspired by Kermaire’s experiences while on a boat in Greece during the summer and fall of 2015.

Art books challenge our notion of what constitutes a book, and Kermaire’s piece is no different. It consists of a black garment bag, meant to represent a body bag, and includes 8 laminated sheets of instructions on how to survive as a refugee traveling by boat. The bag itself includes fabric flowers stitched along the top.

Our department has other materials from Kermaire as well, namely:

  • Memory of Al-Mutanabbi Street
  • Expurgated
  • Strokephone
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J. F. Standiford, photographer

A studio portrait of a woman, "Teacher at Kendall" is penciled in at the back. #28.  Probably Alice Crosby.  Photographer J. F. Standiford.

A studio portrait of a woman, “Teacher at Kendall” is penciled in at the back. #28. Probably Alice Crosby. Photographer J. F. Standiford.

Jacob Frank Standiford (1852-?) was a photographer in Indian Territory.  He was originally from what would become West Virginia, and part of his life was lived in Illinois and Kansas.  In 1878, he moved to Muskogee, I.T. and received a permit from the Creek Nation to reside there.  Because of this he frequently advertised himself as the only licensed photographer in Indian Territory.  He maintained a studio and gallery in Muskogee.

In the 1880s, he returned to Kansas, and advertised himself as “The People’s Photographer” in Parsons.   In 1886, he married Sarah E., and she joined him in his business.  They were later joined by Standiford’s sister, Rachael.

By 1888 he had returned to Muskogee.  Standiford traveled over most of Indian Territory by wagon and shooting portraits in a tent studiovisiting such places as Eufaula, McAlester, Tahlequah, Vinita and Wagoner.

Standiford was also an inventor. In 1892 he applied for a patent on an electric retouching apparatus used for etching.  He also invented a revolving printing room.  In 1900 he received a patent for a multiplying camera and making multiple exposures on a single plate.

A cabinet card showing an unidentified bearded man in a hat exhibiting a yearling colt. A short picket fence is behind them. Photographer J. F. Standiford.

A cabinet card showing an unidentified bearded man in a hat exhibiting a yearling colt. A short picket fence is behind them. Photographer J. F. Standiford.

In 1893, he sold the business in Muskogee to Alice Robertson and moved to Ft. Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas.  He died sometime after 1920.

The Standiford images in the collections are not from a single collection, but are gathered from other collections, notable the TU archives and the Papers of the Robertson and Worcester families.

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New acquisition, Jack C. Rea library of Science Fiction

Random book covers from the Rea Library.

Random book covers from the Rea Library.

The staff recently began moving in the Jack C. Rea Library of Science Fiction, approximately 81 linear feet of hard cover first editions and first bound editions of the works of Science Fiction authors from the 1930s to the 1990s.  When they are cataloged they will be searchable under the subject heading, Jack Rea Library.

Autographed flyleaf of the Masters of Time, A. E. Van Vogt.

Autographed flyleaf of the Masters of Time, A. E. Van Vogt.

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Oklahoma, Where Green Grow the Lilacs and the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain

Born in 1899 near the small Oklahoma town of Claremore, Rollie Lynn Riggs, better known as Lynn Riggs, was an American author, playwright, and poet. Of Cherokee descent, Riggs wrote 21 plays, several short stories, a television script, and several poems.

After working in Chicago and New York as a young man, Riggs returned to Oklahoma in 1919 and began writing for the Oil and Gas Journal. He published his first poem soon thereafter. After a stint at the University of Oklahoma and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Riggs returned to New York, hoping for a Broadway career. His first major play was produced in 1925. He gained popularity as a writer and teacher, and eventually travelled to Europe as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow.

While in Paris, Riggs began work on his most famous play, Green Grow the Lilacs, which took him five months to finish. He continued moving around the United States, teaching and writing. Green Grow the Lilacs was transformed into the musical Oklahoma! in 1943, which provided Riggs with a steady income. The play ran from 1943 to 1948 for an astounding 2,212 performances. His works also include Big Lake, A Lantern to See By, Rancor, Roadside, and The Cherokee Night.

Lynn Riggs Papers

1971.004 Lynn Riggs Papers

Riggs was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1943 and into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1965. Riggs passed away from cancer in 1954.

The University of Tulsa McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives proudly houses The Lynn Riggs Papers collection (Collection 1971.004), which consists of a variety of materials of Riggs’ as well as materials about him.

Series 1 consists of autograph, typescript, and carbon copy typescript versions of Riggs’ plays, screenplays, and screen treatments written between 1931 and 1944, and some are accompanied by correspondence between Riggs and producers and publishers.

Series 2 is ephemera privately collected and contains correspondence of Riggs’ as well as playbills, photographs, and press cuttings of theater reviews about Riggs’ plays and the premier showing of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Series 3 consists of Phyllis Cole Braunlich’s papers on Lynn Riggs, which were collected during her research before writing Haunted By Home and This Book, This Hill, These People. Riggs genealogical and personal background material boasts family histories and photographs, notes and transcripts from four of Riggs’ scrapbooks, color transparencies of scenes from various plays, press cuttings and playbills.

These materials are available to the public during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They are housed offsite, so they do require an advance request at least 24 hours before the requested viewing time. Feel free to contact the department at or 918-631-2496 with questions or reference requests.

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Proper Etiquette at TU Special Collections

Etiquette bookBrowsing the shelves on the fifth floor of the University of Tulsa’s Special Collections, I IMAG1858found a little 4 ½ inch blue covered book titled True politeness: A hand-book of etiquette for ladies. The author attribution is “by an American lady” and was published in 1847. This small volume contains sixty-four pages of little bits of etiquette advice on fashion, conversation, visiting friends, parties, etc. For example a lady’s gloves should ‘harmonize with her dress and always be clean’ or a lady should ‘never go early to a public ball’ or when playing card games ‘women should never play, unless they can retain the command of their temper’.
Finding this charming little pocket book encouraged me to search for more books about etiquette advice and social customs in the Special Collections. I then discovered many more old volumes detailing proper behaviors for the times in which they were written. The etiquette books in the TU Special Collections range from the late 1600s to the mid-20th century. The oldest book was published in 1688 and titled The Lady’s New-years Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter. This late 17th century work details advice on religion, marriage, house and family, servants, behavior and conversation, friendships, censure, vanity and 1688 etiquette bookaffectation, pride, diversions, and dancing. This is a small 5 ½ inch volume with 164 pages. Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette: a guide to gracious living is a 700 page tome and was published in 1954. The 20th century book encompasses the details of life ceremonies, dress and manners, home entertaining, household management, correspondence, family and social education of the children, public life, official etiquette for civilians, and travel etiquette at home and abroad.
These types of advice books offer a unique view into the lives, values and behaviors of the people and society.1 Of course the earlier works were certainly intended for the upper classes but as literacy increased and books became more widely available, these etiquette books were available to other demographics. For example Emily Post’s and Lilian Eichler’s books on etiquette, published in the 1920s, were less formal and rigid and more democratic in style and expectations.2
Some other etiquette tips:
1688- “Your Servants are in the next place to be considered; and you must remember not to fall into the mistake of thinking, That because they receive Wages, and are so much Inferior to you, therefore they are below your Care to know how to manage them.”
1804- “Uncleanness, which is of all vices the most shameful”
1856- “The first fundamental rule of good taste is to be natural…In manner or style, affectation is the source of the most flagrant offences against taste.”
1888- “It is not the Correct Thing for a gentleman to go in to dinner with a lady, without offering her his arm.”
1907- “The graceful lifting of the hat on all proper occasions is one of the marks of a gentleman.”
1942- “Wartime Entertaining: It is considered bad form to entertain lavishly or expensively in wartime, when money is so urgently needed for other, more important, things. Simplicity should be the keynote of any function planned for men in the armed services.”
1954- “If we know nothing of our neighbor’s beliefs or background we may unwittingly offend him. If we have only a vague idea of his religious customs and taboos we may seem discourteous by out failure to respect them in our contact with him.”
If you are curious as to other interesting tidbits of social customs and deportment, all of these etiquette books are available to be viewed at the Special Collections Monday-Friday 8-5.




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New Acquisition (just in time for tornado season).

This week the department of Special Collections and University Archives has acquired a set of 24 cabinet card mounted photographs mostly taken in Indian and Oklahoma Territories and generally of Native American related subjects.

The collection was assembled by Esther Hoyt (d. 1942) who taught at several Indian schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  After she left the non-reservation school at Tomah, Wisconsin she refused to teach in any of the large institutional schools ever again.  The rest of her career was spent at local day schools, most notably the San Ildefonso school, where she started the art program.

Most of the images in this collection were taken by Thomas Croft, who was a professional photographer first in Arkansas City, Kansas, and later Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Territory.  Thomas F. Croft moved to Arkansas City from Illinois in 1885. In 1893 he likely took the famous photograph of the Land Run Opening the Cherokee Strip for settlement while working for a photographer named Prettyman.  He regularly traveled to Indian Territory to shoot images of Native Americans, such as the one we are examining. Later on in his career he moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Territory

2016-007-1-028_tornadoOn May 12, 1896, Croft took the first known photograph of a tornado.  The photograph was taken in Oklahoma City.  This was an F2 tornado that hit five miles NW of downtown Oklahoma City, striking four farms, destroying one barn, killing some poultry, and tearing the kitchen off a farm house.

In the weeks following this tornado was the May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence, which produced a number of deadly tornadoes through out the Midwest.

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Early University History, Part 2. Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, I. T.

This, the second installment on the history of the university, examines the history from the establishment of the school to the move to Tulsa. The first entry can be found here.

Ben McCurtain, Gabe Parker, Sam Matthews, Milo Hendrix, Lucile Walrond. c. 1897. 1894.

Ben McCurtain, Gabe Parker, Sam Matthews, Milo Hendrix, Lucile Walrond. c. 1897. 1894.

Henry Kendall College opened its doors on September 12, 1894, for its first ever freshman class. These new students consisted of Benjamin Franklin McCurtain, son of Greenwood “Green” McCurtain, Principle Chief of the Choctaw Nation and Lucile “Lulu” Walrond. Joining them were the Senior, Middle, and Junior Preparatory classes, which were what would be today considered a High School. The music department was somewhat separate, but the students were considered part of Henry Kendall College, as were the Kindergarten and Primary Day School students. Classes were divided into Classical and Scientific tracks. Tuition at the collegiate level was $2.50 per month, and for residential students, tuition, board, light, fuel, and washing was $12.50 per month (or $112.50 per year).

The earliest “plant” for the school remained at the location of the Presbyterian Mission School at 2nd and Okmulgee in downtown Muskogee, consisting of the administration building, Minerva House (or home) for girls, the Presbyterian Church building, and Stoddard Hall to house boy students. It became soon apparent that these facilities would be inadequate for the planned College.

Henry Kendall College faculty, c.1898. 1894.

Henry Kendall College faculty, c.1898. 1894.

The first president of Henry Kendall College was William Addison Caldwell (1861-1950). Alice L. Crosby, former Principal of the Spencer Academy probably served as the first interim awaiting for the arrival of Caldwell. Crosby later served as the Mathematics instructor until 1911. The other faculty included Alice Robertson, Phoebe Riddell, Mabel Hastings, Grace Keam, Ida Lyons, and Fanny Gilson. Alice Robertson’s mother, A. E. W. Robertson, remained on as Creek translator.

The school moved along slowly, hampered by the impression that it was an Indian college, and because of political issues within the Presbyterian church.

Football came to Kendall in 1895, establishing a long athletic tradition.

William R. King. 1894.

William R. King. 1894.

In 1896, Caldwell left and was replaced as president by William R. King, who had been so instrumental in establishing the college, being counted as its founder. There were a number of issues facing him, not the least of which was that while Muskogee had grown to be one of the largest cities in Indian Territory, second only to Ardmore, it wasn’t large enough to support a large number of academic institutions. In 1895-1900, it supported five: Kendall (Presbyterian), Indian University/Bacone (Baptist), Nazareth Institute (Catholic), Harrell/Spaulding Institute (Methodist), and Edwards Baptist College (African American).

By the end of the academic year in 1897, it was clear that the original campus was inadequate and President King made plans to move the entire university to a new location with purpose-built buildings and plans to expand.

Pleasant Porter, a prominent Creek and Clarence W. Turner, a local civic leader and businessman made arrangements for the college to acquire land about a mile west of town.

Henry Kendall College, second location, Muskogee, I.T., c.1898-1907. 1894.

Henry Kendall College, second location, Muskogee, I.T., c.1898-1907. 1894.

On June 1, 1898, the first senior class graduated: Lucile Walrond, Ben McCurtain, and Joseph Norman Leard. Lucile Walrond was the valedictorian, and probably the first graduate. They were also the first baccalaureates granted by higher educational institutes that still exist in Oklahoma.

Students Milo Hendrix and Eugene Gilmore had volunteered in the spring of 1898 as Rough Riders and had gone to Cuba in the Spanish-American War. Eventually eight other students would also enlist. Hendrix was killed in the Battle of San Juan Hill, and was the first Kendall student killed in battle.

On September 5th, 1898, Henry Kendall College opened at the new location. That autumn Kendall played football against the University of Arkansas for the first time, and apparently won. In 1899, Kendall lost to Arkansas.

In 1899, A. Grant Evans became the new president of the college when King had to resign due to ill health.

In the early part of the 20th century, the college continued to struggle with its identity, whether it was to be a solely religious organization, and whether it was an Indian School or not. These were questions that echoed as the Twin Territories moved toward statehood.

President Evans was present at both the Sequoyah and Oklahoma Statehood conventions along with Kendall graduate Gabe Parker. Parker and Evans designed the proposed state seal for Sequoyah, and when it became obvious that the territories were to be joined, redesigned the seal for the new state.

Unfortunately for the school, this time was a difficult one, and money was becoming an issue. While the Presbyterian board of missions paid part of the school’s costs, and more was paid by fees and tuition, the school had very little revenue. The only real endowment was a $500 gift that had been given in 1905 by Mary Baird Bryan, wife of William Jennings Bryan. By 1906, the Mission Board was investigating plans to rid itself of the financial burden of the college. By 1907, they had transferred that burden to the Synod of Oklahoma. The Synod began to look for alternate locations for Kendall.

In May of 1907, the Tulsa Commercial Club went to the Synod and made arrangements for the school to be moved to Tulsa.

During these negotiations, enrollment in Muskogee had dropped, and on June 4, 1907, the final class from the Muskogee Kendall College graduated.

The community in Muskogee and the Native population were very unhappy as the school moved to Tulsa that summer.

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New appearance

You may notice some changes to the appearance of this blog.  We are attempting to make it appear more in line with the University’s current standards.

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Special Collections in the news

This morning the Department of Special Collections and University Archives appeared in the Tulsa World in an article about the E. Nelson Bridwell Collections (1989.001). The article may be found at here.

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All That Jazz…

Special Collections is pleased to announce that a new collection has been processed. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. James Ronda, former history professor here at the University of Tulsa, Special Collections now has a robust offering of turn of the twentieth century records.

These hundred year old records are made from shellac and range from miniature discs of approximately four inches in diameter to large records spanning 12 inches in diameter. Records made between 1898 and the 1950s which play at a speed of 78 revolutions per minute are also known as “78s.” The Dr. James Ronda Jazz and Popular Music collection offers an excellent variety of music, consisting primarily of jazz, gospel, and classical pieces. There is also various military songs, love songs, comedy sketches, political speeches, and other interesting genres. The records range from smaller brands such as Banner, Brunswick, Cameo, Gennett, Gray Gull, and Romeo to household names such as Columbia, Victor, and Victrola.



Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the collection is the vast array of artists and personalities captured in these early recordings. There are speeches by William Jennings Bryan, Will Rogers, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, comedy sketches by famous Uncle Josh personality Cal Stewart, songs by well-known artists such as Henry Burr, Gene Autry, Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, Evan Williams, and instrumental pieces performed by the Philadelphia Concert Orchestra and Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, as well as famous violinist Nullo Romani.

Cal Stewart was an early vaudeville actor and recorder. He created the Uncle Josh character which soon won the hearty laugh of the American public. Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, composing over 3,000 original pieces and was earning around  $1,000,000 by the early 1920s.

There is even a miniature children’s book with corresponding mini-records with the character’s parts. The Pet Bubble is circa 1919 and tells the story of a lonely boy who is given a pipe by his fairy godmother. The pipe blows bubbles that hold Mother Goose characters who come out to play and sing with him. Each book contains three records with songs from the stories.



The records 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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