Presidential Inaugurations

This gallery contains 8 photos.

A few days ago we witnessed the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, so I looked through our collections to see what kind of presidential material we have. I love basically all kinds of … Continue reading

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J. M. W. Turner Line Engravings

Happy New Year! This marks the beginning of my last semester as a graduate assistant at the University of Tulsa. I am excited for the next chapters of my life, but I know that I will enjoy writing new blog posts until then!

Amidst some of the turmoil going on in our world, today I decided to focus on one item in our collection that is far removed from the fray. The Josephine Walker collection of J.M.W. Turner line engravings consists of one very big, very heavy box containing line engravings and their accompanying descriptions. This collection was once bundled together in one big red leather-bound book, but its contents have since been neatly arranged in archival folders for safekeeping.

Red leather cover with black decoration with the words "Turner Gallery" in the center

Joseph Mallord William Turner (J. M. W. Turner) was an English artist who lived from 1775 to 1851. He was recognized for his talent from a young age and was known for big, colorful, sweeping landscapes that were often tumultuous in nature. Unfortunately, engravings are in black and white, so we do not get the complete effect that an original piece of his work would have. “Wreck Off Hastings” (1825) is a perfect example of his tumultuous depiction of nature. The sweeping, violent sea and the large cliffs make up the majority of the painting, with the shipwreck seeming so small and insignificant in comparison. Here is an example of the engraving from our collection next to a full color image of the original work so that you can compare.

A colorful painting of a small shipwreck with yellow cliffs in the background and a dark, turbulent sea in the foregroundBlack and white etching of a small shipwreck in a turbulent sea, with cliffs and sky in the background

Each component of the total 120 engravings would have been purchased separately, with each part consisting of a few engravings and detailed descriptions of the work. The front page of each installment was priced at fifty cents when these engravings were published back in 1880, which would be almost $13 today. The whole collection has forty components, which would have been a total of $20 at the time, or the equivalent of $540 today.

Highly decorated cover that reads "The Turner Gallery"

At the time, engraving was a fantastic way to mass-produce images or in this case create copies of artworks for publication. The MET has a really amazing post on their website that you can see if you are interested in how engravings like these were made. We have several engravings that can be found throughout our collections.

If you would like to see more of our treasures, feel free to contact us at We remain closed to the public and only available in-person to TU students, faculty, and staff, but we are happy to help anybody access our collection digitally.

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Rich British Socialites

Happy holidays everyone! Today is the last day of work before Christmas break after what has been easily the most difficult semester of my entire academic career! I am looking forward to seeing at least some family for Christmas as we all continue to ride out this pandemic.

I recently found a little collection by a woman named Enid Bagnold. Google revealed that she was the author of the novel National Velvet, which I recognized from the 1944 Elizabeth Taylor film adaptation that I once saw, years ago. I found a mini-bio from Encyclopedia Brittanica that gives a basic overview of her life. With only three folders holding little more than a few dozen letters, I thought I would share with you the few I was able to scan. The letters in our collection are addressed to Cynthia (our cagalog entry mentions Cynthia Asquith, though I never saw her complete name in the letters).


scanned image of a letter addressed "Dear Cynthia" from Enid

This first letter first caught my attention because of the typo in the date and I giggled at thinking how much of a difference there is between 0 and 9, even though I understand  what a hassle it would have been to correct on a typewriter (I’m more ready to forgive this than typos in the day of the computer). From the context, I suspect that Cynthia, who was well known for writing ghost stories, to ask her to write a ghost story as well, and she apprehensively decided to try it.

Scanned image of a letter addressed "Dear Lady Cynthia" from Enid Jones July 12 Scanned image of a letter addressed "Dear Cynthia" from Enid 22nd March, 1934

Although the letter on the left is dated only July 12, from the salutation, I imagine it was still early in their friendship and likely not too long after the letter above. Enid’s description of her attempt at the ghost story suggests that they must have been well enough acquainted for  her to write a story so “bad, very bad…ground out sentence by sentence.” I can completely relate to that feeling as a writer and wonder how hard she was being on herself. Compared with the letter on the right, though, I’m curious about The Amorous Ghost.


These three letters were written in the interwar years, so I was interested to see how life changed for them during WWII.

Scanned image of a letter addressed "Darling Cynthia" from Enid September 1, 1944 For a time, I wondered who Laurian was, but eventually realized that Laurian is Enid’s daughter. (When searching for National Velvet in our collections, you will see that Laurian illustrated the novel, which I think is pretty cool.) Even in wartime, Diana (whoever she is) flew “especially to Naples…and then dragged a car out of somebody” to see Timothy (who may be Enid’s son). While the war was raging, they still managed to live extremely well.


This undated memo isn’t even addressed to Cynthia, though the mention of Desmond suggests that she is probably the recipient.

scanned image of a letter from Enid Jones dated July 17

The last few lines, and the letters above, really highlight their privilege though, which other letters call even more attention to when you read them closely. I imagine that they had to be touchd by the war, but it doesn’t seem to have affected them as much as I thought it might have. They would have been prime candidates for the show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: WWII Edition” had it been a thing back then.

If you’d like to see these letters or the many other collections we hold, please contact us at for arrangements. We will be closed for winter break starting on December 21, and reopen January 4. You are also welcome to browse our Catalog and Digital Collections and if you have any questions or requests, Kelsey and I will be back and happy to help you in 2021!  We hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

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Digital Materials World Tour

Happy Winter Break! Do you have any plans? In years past, I would always plan a trip for all of my winter breaks. Road-trips or flights to Europe for a week, I’ve always found a way to go exploring during the break.

This year, we can’t really go anywhere. I am supposed to be going to Hawaii on my honeymoon, but that trip has been delayed again, so I decided to go through our digital materials and see some of the cool places photographed in our collections from the comfort of my home.

We’ll start our small digital tour in Malta. This is a photo of the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta. The original auberge (inn, or buildings where travelers can seek lodging) was built in the 1570’s but was rebuilt in the 1740’s in the Spanish Baroque style. Today, the Prime Minister’s office is housed in this building. This photograph is a part of the Alice Welford WW1 Photograph Album collection and was taken in 1916 or 1917.

The second is entitled “Entrance gate to ruins of Roman coliseum and lion arena in Triers, Germany. This photo is in our WW1 Photographs, 1918-1935 (2001-073) collection. This coliseum was erected in 2nd century A.D. and was used for gladiator events and animal shows. Below the arena is a cellar where animals were stored and prisoners were sentenced to death.

This is an awesome photograph of the Eiffel Tower. Taken in 1919, this photo is a part of our Bert Hebbes WW1 letters collection (2007-017). I’ve stood where this photo was taken! I think that it’s so cool tower doesn’t look any different now, a hundred years later. This collection also has another cool photograph of the Trocadero Palace. The vantage point actually looks like it was taken from the Eiffel Tower, but I could be wrong. The palace was demolished in the 1930’s, so it is unfortunately not one that we could go and visit when we can go travel again.

Black and white photo of the Eiffel Tower taken from belowBlack and white photograph of a palace from above

Do any of you recognize this last photograph? It was taken right here in Tulsa! This is an undated photograph of the Philbrook gardens from our Tulsa area Historical Slides collection (100-152). If you’re in Tulsa for the break, you can throw on your coat and go visit this exact gazebo (though the gardens do look a little bit different now)! Just because we are grounded does not mean that we can’t find ways to explore closer to home.

Colored photograph of gardens and a gazebo

You can see so many more cool photos in our Digital Materials from the comfort and safety of your own home. We will be closed for winter break starting on December 21, so if you have any questions or need anything from us, we will be back and happy to help you in 2021!  We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.

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Hello, Halito, Hesci, ᎣᏏᏲ

I have always loved learning languages. My mother was a high school Spanish teacher, so Spanish was my first (and best) foreign language, even though I have never achieved true fluency (the value of studying abroad cannot be overestimated at all!). I also took six years of French in high school and college as well as a challenging semester of German. I use the Duolingo app every chance I can to explore Irish, Hawaiian, Italian, Czech, Japanese, and Turkish, and eventually I plan to add Vietnamese and Latin. The only Native American language Duolingo has is Navajo, which is currently in Beta testing, but it would be a dream to see even more idigenous languages!

Looking through our collections, I’ve run across materials in the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Muscogee Creek languages which I find fascinating and beautiful. So, today I will share some pictures of handwritten letters as well as links to each Nation’s language website. To my knowledge, there are no translations for the letters I found, so I have no earthly idea what they say; these could be casual letters between friends or official matters of business or law for all I know. Some people may feel frustrated or intimidated looking at materials in other languages, but I love looking at things like this from different perspectives! I even looked up the official definition of language; the first four definitions are what I had in mind when thinking about this post. These linguistic symbols allow for communication among a set of people who, in this case, happen to share the same (or similar) geographic and cultural communities.

scanned image of a letter written in the Cherokee syllabary by L.B. Gritts in Tahlequah, I.T.

PSA: Always date your letters so curious historians have a reference!

scanned image of a Cherokee syllabary chart

I wish I knew how to decipher this table!









Cherokee syllabary has existed for nearly two full centuries!! The history behind it is well worth looking up and learning about!

scanned image of a letter handwritten in the Choctaw language on Nov.21st by Amos Henry, page 2 scanned image of a letter handwritten in the Choctaw language on Nov.21st by Amos Henry, page 1

I recognized Green McCurtain’s name—he was a chief of the Choctaw Nation. I wonder how well Amos Henry knew him and why he was writing. This particular letter caught my attention because it was written on my birthday, seventy-eight years before I was born!

scanned image of an announcement from the Department of the Interior printed in the Muscogee Creek language, page 1 scanned image of an announcement from the Department of the Interior printed in the Muscogee Creek language, page 2

This two page announcement was signed by Gabe E. Parker, whose name I also recognized from my time here in Special Collections! I image there was important information in this announcement and I’m so curious to know what it is. As a Henry Kendall College alum, he was instrumental in Indian Territory and Oklahoma history and also well worth learning about.

Language loss is a disturbingly real problem facing idigenous peoples across the world, which I would give anything to reverse if I could. Language isn’t just for communicating with other humans—it encodes truly unique nuggets of the human experience, and wisdom that, once lost, are irreplaceable because they are found literally nowhere else on Earth. Simply trying to record as much as possible before it’s lost was the presumption of the past and we can do better than that going forward. Programs like these to revitalize daily use both record the language and ensure its continued survival. If you have time, check out these links and learn what you can about these vital language programs!

Choctaw Nation Language

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Language

Cherokee Nation Language

We have materials relating to a wide variety of Native American tribes, so if you’d like to see them or the many other collections we hold, please contact us at for arrangements. We are currently open only to TU students, faculty, and staff by appointments made at least 24 hours in advance. You are also welcome to browse our Catalog and Digital Collections and request photocopies or digital scans of materials through the same email. Kelsey and I fulfill requests as quickly as possible, but especially large requests or a high volume of requests may take us up to 4-6 weeks. We are happy to help you as best we can and we hope that you stay safe and healthy!

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Thanksgiving and Cookbooks

This Thanksgiving will look different than holidays gone by, but one thing can remain the same. When I think about Thanksgiving, I immediately begin to salivate as I think about all of the tasty foods I am going to enjoy! What do you eat with your family? We are usually traditional turkey feast eaters, but last year my family decided we would rather have gumbo on turkey day. This year my husband and I are staying home and making pizza from scratch.

While this holiday is about spending time with family and giving thanks, it’s difficult to picture the day without the food. I will forever cherish the time spent peeling apples with my grandma for pie, or sneaking pieces of the smoked turkey while I mashed potatoes with my uncle. The recipes become a central part of the memories, some passed down by word of mouth and others from family cookbooks.

Did you know that the Special Collections department collects cookbooks? We collect them because they are an important part of our culture. All you would need to do is look at them to see how much we have changed over the years.

Pumpkin pie recipe from Family Cook Book

The first cookbook I am going to mention was published in 129 years ago in 1891. It is called simply “Family Cook Book” and was published by Healy & Bigelow, who owned and operated the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company. Opposite all the recipes are advertisements and testimonies for “Kickapoo Indian Oil”, which they claim can cure everything from indigestion to rheumatism to “female diseases” (someday I’ll do a whole post about how women are represented in some of these old publications…). The recipes themselves are so simple, missing some measurements that we would consider critical now. For the recipe above, how big is the pumpkin? What exactly is a “rather slow oven”?!

Advertisement page from Family Cook Book

What household doesn’t use at least one recipe from a Good Housekeeping cookbook or magazine floating around? This one, published in 1933, has a recipe for turkey that calls for the cook to cover the top with bacon or salt pork (yum!). The recipe is also right above one for rabbit stew and rabbit supreme.

Cover of the 1933 Good Housekeeping Cookbook

Good Housekeeping recipe for roast turkey, rabbit stew, and rabbit supreme










The last cookbook I am going to mention today is my favorite. Published in 1964, “The Magpie Press Typographical Cookbook” is a small, limited edition (1 of 100 copies) cookbook with spunk. Each recipe is short and unique, with each page containing one recipe and the contributor in a different typeface. It seems like this cookbook was created more for appearances than to be used as a real cookbook, but I still think some of the recipes look delicious.

Final page of the cookbook

First Page of The Magpie Press Typographical Cookbook









Recipe for pecan balls from The Magpie Press Typographical Cookbook

Recipe for Bourbon and Water from The Magpie Press Typographical Cookbook. Notice the final sentence- “Serves one- temporarily

I hope that you enjoy some tasty food this week and take the time to be thankful, even if you are playing it safe and staying home this year. Maybe try out one of the recipes I have listed in this post (I would like to make pecan balls. I’m a dessert girl!) and let us know how it goes?

The Special Collections Department will be closed starting Wednesday, November 25th and reopen on Monday, November 30th. Please email us after the holiday at with any questions or requests for scans of our materials and we will be happy to help you.

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Closed for Holiday 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday starting at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, November 24 through Friday, November 27. We will reopen at our normal time on Monday, November 30. Have a safe and happy holiday.

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Oklahoma Statehood: The History and Anniversary

While scanning some documents, I noticed articles about the anniversary of Oklahoma statehood and realized that the 113th anniversary was this past Monday! This anniversary will be easy to remember since it’s only a few days before my birthday, so to celebrate myself and my still relatively new state, I’m sharing a few photos, mostly from the William Settle Collection, that touch on different aspects of statehood.


Photograph of a newspaper headline that reads "Politics Boiled as Statehood Neared"

This headline hints at so much, especially in retrospective. Politics boiled because Oklahoma, at least as we know it today, shouldn’t even be a state. Indian Territory was opened to white settlement after allotment, and the drive to create the state of Sequoyah would at least mean tribal leaders could retain government as a state, if not individual tribes. Ultimately, Theodore Roosevelt rejected this idea, and signed the Oklahoma Enabling Act that led to the creation of the single state of Oklahoma out of the Oklahoma and Indian Territories. The Oklahoma Historical Society has an excellent short article that is well worth reading to find out more.

Photograph of a newspaper headline that reads "Archer Street Structure Predates Statehood"

Despite the fraught politics of statehood, Tulsa was well established and on its way to cementing its reputation as an Oklahoma powerhouse and the oil capital of the world. If I could travel back in time, I would go check out that early ice cream factory (and everything else I possibly could)!

Photograph of a newspaper article headline that reads "Pioneers will Frolic on November 16"

Only 21 years after statehood, and they were already planning the ‘Old Timers Dinner’ to be a “historic affair” which is entertaining. This article was focused on pioneers, settlers, territorial and state governors; it implicitly whitewashes history, but I am extremely curious about the blurb regarding the Seminole Chamber of Commerce in the middle. No matter how white history, especially regarding the Federal Government and U.S. statehood seems, the whole picture is a far more complex and interesting study than we often acknowledge it to be.

Photograph of a newspaper article headline that reads "Opening of Glenn Pool on Nov 22, 1906, Helped Make Tulsa"

This last one is only tangentially related, but the date caught my eye (58 years before JFK’s death, the earliest day Thanksgiving can fall on, and the day after my birthday, among others…the 22nd of November is a surprisingly eventful day). Robert Galbreath, who had found success in Tulsa’s first oil well at Red Fork, and Frank Chesley leased Ida E. Glenn’s allotment land in the Bixby township in April 1904; after a year and a half, they struck “black gold” on November 22, 1905, just two years shy of statehood; once again, the OHS gives a great overview of the event that you can read here. The Glenn pool oil field was a pivotal moment in Tulsa, and Oklahoma, history. Galbreath went on to establish the Red Fork Oil and Gas Company,  and the rest…is history.


If you’d like to see any material related to Oklahoma history, or any of the many other collections we hold, please contact us at for arrangements. We are currently open only to TU students, faculty, and staff by appointments made at least 24 hours in advance. You are also welcome to browse our Catalog and Digital Collections and request photocopies or digital scans of materials through the same email. Kelsey and I fulfill requests as quickly as possible, but especially large requests or a high volume of requests may take us up to 4-6 weeks. We are happy to help you as best we can and we hope that you stay safe and healthy! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Jervis McEntee Journal

Isn’t the University campus beautiful this week? The leaves are changing and falling off of the trees in droves. For some people, it is a melancholy season signifying the end of green grass and short-sleeves. For others, it is a bright flash of joyful colors before the chilly winter sets in. Either way, there is an undeniable beauty about fall, and today we are going to talk about an artist who was known for capturing it in his paintings.

Oil painting of a cloudy fall day of two people seated by a river with bare trees all around

Figures by a river in an autumnal landscape (1867) by Jervis McEntee

Jervis McEntee (1828-1891) was an American painter of the Hudson River School. He was known for his dark, autumnal landscapes that captured the melancholy nature of the season. His work is not as well-known as some of his contemporaries, but he is known for his meticulously kept journals. He wrote everything down, resulting in a meticulous record of his life. This journal is even given a title- “A Journal of Facts, Folly, and Fun”

What strikes the reader when they open it is the humor, artistry, and impeccable handwriting of the author. This is one of his earliest journals, as it was begun on October 9th 1845, making McEntee only 15 at the time.

“A Journal of Facts, Folly, and Fun”

Handwritten detail on the title page









Most of his journal entries would not seem very exciting to us as readers. Descriptions of weather, society meetings, meals, travels, etc. paint a vivid picture of what life was like as a painter in New York in the Gilded Age. He also included quotes and jokes on some pages, when I read it I feel like I know him. One notable entry comes from October 17th, 1845.

His handwriting is impeccable, but I’ll translate the interesting part for you – “… The Philotimian City met this evening to debate the question of whether Mexico would be justifiable in declaring war on the grounds of annexation. It was of no interest to me and I did not take a part in it or even stay to hear it…”. He just couldn’t be bothered to talk about a war, could he? Most of his entries are like this one, full of details about his day to day life as opposed to sensitive, pensive thoughts that some people write down when journaling.

Stored with the journal is a pamphlet for a show in which his art was up for auction some 30+ years after he wrote the journal. Inside, a list of the works that were for sale at the auction.

Jervis McEntee’s journal and many other treasures can be found in our archives. We are currently only accepting visits from TU students, faculty, and staff with an appointment. If you are not affiliated with the university but would like information about our materials, please email us at and we’ll be happy to help you.


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Tulsa’s Phenomenal Naval Psychologist

black and white photograph of Aimee Whitman Marrs in uniform

Aimee Whitman Marrs in uniform

I have spent the last few months combing through our digital files to ensure their organization and uniformity when I work from home. This has given me the chance to look in depth at the scanned images of each and every collection we have. A few weeks ago, I discovered a small collection about a woman named Aimee Whitman Marrs, whose siblings donated her papers and photos in the early 1980s, some years after her death. You are probably wondering who she is and why a small collection of papers would be interesting, so read on to find out!

Born in Catoosa in 1911, Aimee graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in mathematics in 1931. She enlisted in the Naval Reserves in 1943 and worked in Supplies; women in the reserves became known as W.A.V.E.S., or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. At the end of World War II, she was placed on inactive duty, which allowed her to study at TU and earn a Master’s Degree in Psychology in 1948. She then taught general and applied psychology classes here, as well as practicing psychology at the Tulsa Child Guidance Clinic.

At the outbreak of the Korean War, she went back to active duty. This letter was written by H.W. Gowans, the Dean of TU’s Downtown Division, where she taught.

photograph of a letter about Aimee Whitman Marrs

“Her teaching ability is commensurate with her scholastic ability”

She left Tulsa for the San Diego Naval Hospital when she was nominated for duty as a clinical psychologist. This job is her claim to fame as the Navy’s first woman psychologist!

black and white photograph of the San Diego Naval Hospital showing many different buildings

San Diego Naval Hospital

I am especially interested in this photo, because my grandfather trained as a medic at this very hospital before being sent to the Philippines; my uncle was born here years later when my grandparents were stationed in San Diego again. Aimee Whitman Marrs was here in between the times my grandfather was, but even if their service dates had overlapped, it seems unlikely that they ever would have met. It’s definitely fun to imagine who else might have been there with them, though.

photograph of a letter announcing that Aimee Whitman Marrs was granted secret security clearance on 5 February 1958

SECRET security clearance!

By early 1958, Lt. Commander Marrs had been granted Secret security clearance. She was clearly talented and dedicated to her work. We have a folder of her publications that has not been digitized yet, but I found this short 1949 publication about alcoholism and sobriety; it’s interesting to think that it was once cutting edge research, as I wonder if anyone will stumble across my own research seventy years from now.

Black and white photograph of a man escorting Aimee Whitman Marrs out of a building while men and women on the entrance sides salute

Hello retirement!

She spent the rest of her naval career in San Diego, and retired in 1969, at the rank of Commander. She helped pave the way for women in the Navy to enter areas once open only to men. After her retirement she and her husband, Manton Lee Marrs, (who eventually became editor of the Tulsa World newspaper) returned to settle in Tulsa. She died a few years later, in 1974. Her small collection fills only one box, but there are dozens more papers and newspaper clippings that I could have shared here. These two clippings below came from different points in her life but I think they give you a good glimpse of Aimee Whitman Marrs. I am so glad to have run across this little gem and I wonder what other gems await discovery in our collections!


Photograph of a newspaper clipping featuring Aimee Whitman Marrs receiving a hat from a man and a caption underneath

“…the only woman military psychologist in the Navy.”

Photograph of a newspaper article from the Tulsa Daily World about Aimee Whitman Marrs, with her photo on the left










If you would like to see the collection of Aimee Whitman Marrs or any of the many other collections we hold, please contact us at for arrangements. We are currently open only to TU students, faculty, and staff by appointments made at least 24 hours in advance. You are also welcome to browse our Catalog and Digital Collections and request photocopies or digital scans of materials through the same email. Kelsey and I fulfill requests as quickly as possible, but especially large requests or a high volume of requests may take up to 4-6 weeks. We are happy to help you as best we can and we hope that you stay safe and healthy!

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