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Local History in the Research Center   Tags: history, local history, oklahoma, tulsa  

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Digital Collections Print Page


To search across all the Library's digital collections, use the search box at the top of our digital collection home page. 

Beryl Ford Collection



Beryl Ford Collection

Local historian Beryl Ford collected the largest and most significant collection of photographs and artifacts relevant to the history of the City of Tulsa and surrounding area throughout his lifetime. We are fortunate that he shared part of his legacy as Tulsa historian with us in the form of this invaluable collection, now available online.  This collection was made possible by the Rotary Club of Tulsa.


    Biography Index

    local history books


    Biography Index

    This collection consists of the the indexes to complied biographies in Local History Collection books and indexes to some articles found in the Local History Collection biography vertical files.
    The full text of these items is not available online. To view these items, visit the Research Center at Central Library, contact, or call 918-549-7323.

    Charles Page Memorial Library

    charles page library exterior




    Charles Page Memorial Library Collection

    Browse historic images from the dedication of the original Charles Page Library in Sand Springs.


      City Directories

      1920 city dirctory




      City Directories: Tulsa

      City directories contain a wealth of information for genealogists, researchers, and history enthusiasts. In these resources, you will find addresses and occupations of residents, complete business directories, advertisements, and more.

      Developing Tulsa: The Austin Hellwig Collection


      Developing Tulsa: The Austin Hellwig Collection

      Austin Hellwig has produced more than 30 photo journals on the city of Tulsa, particularly on the subject of road construction. This sample of Mr. Hellwig's work features photographs from the 1980s and '90s and documents the city's expansion as demonstrated through roadway improvements. Other Tulsa County communities and historic bridges are also featured.


        Finding Aids



        Finding Aids Collection

        These inventories provide information about items in our physical collections that are housed with the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection. All of the materials described in the finding aids may be consulted by visiting the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection in the Research Center of Central Library. Some of the materials described in the finding aids are available online; links to these are included in the finding aid. In other cases, particular records of interest may be scanned and sent to a researcher for a fee. Please contact Research Center staff to make an appointment or to learn more about our collections.

        The Levorsen Oil Photography Collection




        The Levorsen Oil Photography Collection

        A.I. Levorsen was the first dean of the School of Mineral Sciences at Stanford University, but he spent much of his career in Tulsa. Dr. Levorsen donated his extensive collection of texts, maps, and photographs regarding the petroleum industry to the library in 1968. Here, view 300 images from the early days of the Oklahoma petroleum industry.



          indian territory map


          Digital images include historical Oklahoma and Tulsa maps representing a fraction of the map collection available in the Research Center of Central Library. For more information on the items available, visit our maps subject guide.

          Tulsa aerial photographs in this digital collection are described by Township, Range, and section. The Tulsa County Assessor provides online access to Tulsa County maps that will assist with area identification:


          The Oil and Gas Journal

          oil and gas journal

          The Oil and Gas Journal

          The Oil and Gas Journal was first published in Beaumont, Texas in 1902 following the oil discovery at Spindletop. It was originally titled Oil Investors' Journal and was a bimonthly publication. By 1910, it was titled The Oil and Gas Journal and was published weekly in Tulsa. Our print collection dates back to 1909. The periodical provides a good deal of information on our community's history and on the oil and gas industry in general.

          Oklahoma Postcard Collection




          Oklahoma Postcard Collection

          Postcards carry their own messages about the pride we take in our state's natural beauty, modern urban areas, and famous personalities. Take a look at some of the images used to promote Oklahoma over the years.


            Oral History Interviews



            Oral History Collection

            This audio collection, conducted by the Junior League of Tulsa in the late 1970s and early 1980s, features discussions with pioneer Tulsans on medicine, lifestyles, architecture, government, business, education, journalism, and many other subjects regarding the early history of Tulsa. We are in the process of transcribing these oral histories and could use your help. If you are interested, please contact me.


              Refining in Tulsa: The Cosden Legacy Collection

              cosden refinery image of employees



              Refining In Tulsa: The Cosden Legacy Collection

              J. S. (Joshua) Cosden was born in Kent County, Maryland in 1882. He came to Bigheart, Oklahoma in 1908 and later relocated to Tulsa. In 1913, Cosden began operating a West Tulsa refinery, two miles upstream from the Texas Co. (later Texaco) refinery. At that time, the refinery had a total capacity of less than 5,000 barrels of crude a day. Two years later, the refinery added 97 miles of pipeline to connect the plant to the famous Cushing oil field. Read more...

              Tulsa City-County Library Collection

              Tulsa City-County Library

              Find images and flim of Tulsa City-County Library over the years.


                Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection

                take me back to tulsa

                Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection

                The Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection consists of items from the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection, including books from the classified section, materials from the Archives and Special Collections, and newspaper clippings and other ephemera from the vertical files.

                Tulsa Race Riot of 1921




                Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

                This online collection contains photographs from the TCCL African-American Resource Center and the Beryl Ford Collection. Vertical file content on the subject can be found in the Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection.



                  central high school yearbook photo 




                  A majority of our yearbook collection resides in the Research Center at Central Library, but some can be found at other library locations in our system.

                  We will add to this digital collection as resources allow, but you can access a full list of our print yearbook collection in the yearbooks tab above.

                  Oklahoma In Other Digital Collections

                  mid-continent refinery workers larry clark cheyenne
                  Workers at the Mid-Continent Refinery 
                  LOC Prints/Photographs Division
                  Tulsa 1 (David Roper) 1963 Larry Clark
                  Smithsonian American Art Museum
                  Oklahoma, circa 1910
                  USGS Photographic Library


                  • Abandoned Oklahoma
                    Find new and old images, maps, and videos of historic places in Oklahoma.
                  • Library of Congress American Memory Collection
                    Find photographs, drawings, and papers related to Oklahoma's history here.
                  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog
                    Find photographs of Oklahoma here.
                  • Oklahoma Department of Libraries Digital Collections
                    These collections include documents, photographs, newspapers, reports, pamphlets, posters, maps, and an author database ranging in date from the late 1800s to present.
                  • OETA
                    Find Oklahoma history videos on OETA's youtube channel.
                  • Oklahoma Historical Society
                    Search the archives catalog for documents, photographs, microfilm, oral histories, maps, and video. Search The Gateway to Oklahoma History for photographs from the Oklahoma Publishing Company, the parent company of the Oklahoman newspaper (formerly the Daily Oklahoman).
                  • Oklahoma State University Digtial Collections
                    The collections cover a variety of topics related to Oklahoma history.
                  • PBS: American Experience
                    You will find Oklahoma history resources here including videos, images, and transcripts. Look for "Surviving the Dust Bowl," "We Shall Remain," and "The American West."
                  • Solomon Sir Jones Film Collection
                    The Solomon Sir Jones film collection is available online from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The collection consists of 29 silent black and white films that document African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928. Tulsa footage can be found in at least five of the films (film two, film eighteen, film twenty, film twenty-seven, and f
                  • Tulsa Historical Society Online Collections
                    Tulsa Historical Society is working to place their entire photograph collection online. Their online collection does not include the Beryl Ford Collection and will eventually number approximately 35,000 images.
                  • United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI)
                    Use the interactive map to find Tulsa and Oklahoma photographs.
                  • USGS Photography Collection
                    Find images of Oklahoma taken during geologic studies of the United States and its territories from 1868 to the present.
                  • University of Central Oklahoma Digital Collections
                    Find images related to the history of the university, Edmond, and Oklahoma here.
                  • University of Oklahoma's Digital Collections
                    Find Civil War Manuscripts, oral histories of Indians in Oklahoma, Indian-pioneer papers, Native American manuscripts, and photography archives here.
                  • University of Tulsa Digital Collections
                    Find resources on the Tulsa Race Riot, the history of the University, and more.
                  • Voices of Oklahoma
                    Voices of is dedicated to the preservation of the oral history of Oklahoma. Voices and stories of famous Oklahomans and ordinary citizens are captured forever in their own words. Oil and gas, ranching, politics, education and more are all visited in these far-ranging interviews. Students researching any of these areas can listen to first-person accounts of the way life was and draw from knowledge that may guide and shape their future.

                  Local History and Digital Collections Librarian

                  Sheri Perkins
                  Contact Info
                  History and Digital Collections Librarian
                  Research Center, Central Library
                  400 Civic Center
                  Tulsa, OK 74103-3830
                  Send Email

                  About the Digital Collections

                  To complement and enhance the broader Library collections and fulfill the Library’s overall mission, the Library provides access to digital collections rich in materials relating to the history, culture, industry, geography, people, government, education, and development of Tulsa and Oklahoma. The collection currently represents resources in a variety of formats including photographs, maps, texts, postcards, and interviews.  These collections function as digital surrogates that aid in the preservation of rare and fragile resources. 

                  Copyright Guidelines

                  Materials are made available online for fair use purposes. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law.

                  The nature of historical collections is such that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine. The records for individual items clearly state copyright information and restrictions on use when they are known. The Library does not grant or deny permission to others who wish to use or reproduce items found in the digital collections. As a matter of good scholarly practice, we recommend that patrons using Library-provided reproductions cite the Library and/or the appropriate web page.

                  Some materials may be subject to rights of privacy, publicity, and trademark. Such rights are likely to be controlled by parties other than the Tulsa City-County Library. It is the obligation of the user to determine and satisfy copyright and other restrictions when making use of materials from the Tulsa City-County Library.

                  The Tulsa City-County Library is always willing to discuss copyright concerns with a rights holder who finds his or her content in our collections. Copyright owners, persons with information about the materials, or individuals interested in reproductions are encouraged to contact

                  Copyright Decisions

                  Items are scanned and made publicly available if they conform to any of the following attributes:

                  • The item was created before 1923.
                  • The donor has signed a release form indicating that he or she is willing to have the content publicly accessible. Note: This release form does not transfer any rights to the Library, now does it mean the donor is releasing the item into the public domain.
                  • Items with significant research value that are in copyright. These items are made accessible to users on computers at the Central Library location. This access is given because, although electronic, it is not far from a user visiting the Library and interacting with the print materials. Items of this nature can be found in the Tulsa City-County Library Digital Collections with the term “Restricted Access Files.” 

                  Book An Exhibition

                  If you are interested in booking one of our traveling digital collection exhibitions, browse the options below and view the list of exhbition pieces available. Select “Book Now” to contact digital collection staff regarding your request. 


                  lunch counter in the 20s

                  TULSA IN THE 20s

                  Like other American cities, Tulsa enjoyed economic growth and prosperity in the 1920s. Our city was the center of the oil and gas industry, and some of Tulsa’s finest buildings and the nation’s finest art deco buildings were constructed. It was also a period marked by interracial tension, and in 1921, one of the most violent race riots in American history occurred in Tulsa. 


                  TULSA: A NEW HOME

                  Tulsa: A New Home celebrates early Jewish immigrants to Tulsa and their impact on the broader community. 

                  BOOK NOW

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