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

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017 URL: http://guides.tulsalibrary.org/localhistory Print Guide RSS Updates

Archives and Special Collections Print Page
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ABOUT THE ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

The Library's Archives and Special Collections were created to organize, store, and preserve records of enduring value that are held by the Library. Like the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection, the archives have a local history focus, but there are some differences between the two collections. Items in the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection are classified using the Dewey Decimal System and can be found using the Library's catalog. Items in the Archives and Special Collections are not classified and are found using the finding aids available on this page.  Generally, items in the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection are published, while resources in the archives are primarily not published. There are some exceptions to these guidelines, though. 

The Archives and Special Collections are housed in the Research Center at Central Library and are arranged by accession number. 

 

AFRICAN-AMERICAN RESOURCE CENTER TULSA RACE RIOT PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION

Title: African-American Resource Center Tulsa Race Riot Collection

Accession Number: 2013.1

Note:  Tulsa's Greenwood district is the site of one of the most devastating race disturbances in the history of the United States. Before May 31, 1921, Tulsa's black business district known as Greenwood flourished in spite of segregation. It boasted of several restaurants, theaters, clothing shops and hotels. Dubbed the "Black Wall Street," Greenwood was an economic powerhouse.

After May 31, 1921, Greenwood would never be the same. The tension mounted between the black and white communities over an incident that allegedly occurred in an elevator at Drexel building in downtown Tulsa involving Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white elevator operator, and Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old black man. There are several versions of what supposedly transpired, but the most common being that Dick Rowland accidentally stepped on Page's foot in the elevator, throwing her off balance. When Rowland reached out to keep her from falling, she screamed. Many Tulsans came to believe through media reports that Rowland attacked Page although no sufficient evidence surfaced to substantiate the claim. The incident was further escalated by a local newspaper headline that encouraged the public to "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator."

The strained relationship between the white and black communities, the heightened jealousy of the success of the Black Wall Street area and the elevator encounter led to the Tulsa Race Riot.

Armed white men looted, burned and destroyed the black community. When the smoke cleared, mere shells of buildings were all that remained of the business district. The Red Cross estimates that more than 300 people were killed and approximately 1,200 homes were destroyed.

Dates: 1921

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: AA0001

Additional Information: This collection is available online.

 

AMERICAN INDIAN RESOURCE CENTER AUDIOVISUAL COLLECTION

Title:  American Indian Resource Center Audiovisual Collection

Accession Number:  2013.4

Note:  The collection consists of 13 videotapes in VHS format and one audiocassette with booklet. The items were with withdrawn from the American Indian Resource Center because these formats are being phased out from the circulating collection.  As they are not available in a digital format but are of enduring value, they were transferred to Archives and Special Collections.

Dates: 1983-2002

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: AI0001

Access: This collection is available for in-library use only.

 

AUNT CHICK COLLECTION

Title: Aunt Chick Collection

Accession Number:  2012.2

Note:  Tulsa entrepreneur and inventor Nettie McBirney became known as “Aunt Chick” to housewives across the nation when she wrote the Tulsa Daily World cooking column from the 1930s until the early 1950s. Aunt Chick also gave culinary lectures and designed cookie cutters, pie tins, and pastry cloths which earned her international recognition. She lived in an age when women didn't use their first names, so she was known as Mrs. Sam McBirney in the society columns. In her Tulsa World food column, she adopted the nom de plume of “Aunt Chick.” A native of North Dakota, she graduated from the Stout Institute, Menomonie, Wisconsin, which was the second school in the nation devoted exclusively to home economics. As Nettie Williams, she came to Claremore to teach home economics and to find a sleeper clause in her contract that had added lunch for 125 students to her classroom duties. After two years in Claremore and one year as supervisor of home economics in the Muskogee Public Schools, she married Sam McBirney in 1913 and moved to Tulsa where they built a home at 16th Street and Denver Avenue. As the charming and civic-minded member of the old and prominent Tulsa McBirney family (Sam McBirney was vice president of the National Bank of Commerce, a bank that his family founded about 1908, and was also famous as the coach of the outstanding 1916 Kendall College football team), she did not hesitate to put her active mind to work and quickly became "Aunt Chick" to the nation. Nettie McBirney died on Thursday, 16 December 1982. She was 96 years old.

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: AC0001

Access: This collection is available for in-library use only.

 

BERYL FORD COLLECTION

Title:  Beryl Ford Collection

Accession Number:  2014.1

Note:  Local historian Beryl Ford collected thousands of images, artifacts, and publications related to the history of the Tulsa and Oklahoma area. In August 2004, the Rotary Club of Tulsa’s nonprofit subsidiary Tulsa Archives Inc. purchased the collection from Beryl and Lydia Ford. The photographs, flat items, and documents were temporarily loaned to the Tulsa City-County Library for the purpose of digitizing, cataloging, and providing online access to a significant number of the collection. These items were then transferred to the Tulsa Historical Society for housing.  Mr. Ford recorded his description of a portion of the collection on audio cassette. This collection consists of these descriptions on audio cassette as well as a number of print newspapers and periodicals retained from the larger collection that is now housed at the Tulsa Historical Society.

Dates: 1882-2007

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: BFC001

 

CHARLES PAGE MEMORIAL COLLECTION

Title: Charles Page Memorial Library

Accession Number:  2013.2

Note:  The first library in Sand Springs was started in 1920 by the Sand Springs Women's Club and was opened April 1921 in the City Hall with 500 donated books. The city took it over and supported it for many years by appropriation of city funds. On February 27, 1930, the Page Memorial Library was dedicated as a gift of Mrs. Lucile Page in memory of her husband, Charles Page. The cost of building and furnishing the library and supplying it with a collection was about $100,000. Special features of the art deco type building at the corner of Broadway and Main in downtown Sand Springs are its bronze doors, banisters, memorial window, and memorial plate done by Ralph Watkins of Chicago. The architect, Mr. Otis Floyd Johnson, of the Lorado Taft Studios in Chicago, was a specialist in memorial architecture. The walls are of haydite blocks and the outside is covered by stucco. It was designed as a two story building with entrance walls of St. Genevieve (Italian) marble and lobby floors of Tennessee pink marble. The unique bronze lamps and lighting fixtures cost $5000 and were done by the Empire Chandelier Company of Sand Springs.

This two-story building was leased to the Tulsa City-County Library System when the system was started in 1962 and continued to serve as the downtown community's library for many years. It was an outstanding building with 7,400 sq. ft, 40-ft. ceilings and marble stairways, but toward the end of the 20th century, it became difficult to deliver the services desired by staff and customers, even with the addition of an elevator in the 1980s to increase accessibility. The Sand Springs Home was approached about providing a suitable site for a new building which could more easily house a one-story, easily accessible library, and they offered a long-term lease for a location across from Charles Page High School at 551 E. 4th St. The System built a new 5,300 sq. ft. brick building in the wooded setting in 2001 and named it the Charles Page Library. The Page Memorial building reverted to the City, its purpose to be a local history museum.

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: CP0001

Additional Information: This collection is available online.

 

COSDEN LEGACY COLLECTION

Title: Cosden Legacy Collection

Accession Number: 2012.1

Note: 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 and Company began operating their 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. This pipeline was the forerunner of the 3,500 mile Mid-Continent pipeline system. Cosden and Company changed their name to Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation in 1925 and then merged with Sunray in 1955 to form Sunray Mid-Continent Oil Co. Sunray merged with Sun Oil in 1968. In 2009, Holly Corporation purchased the Sunoco Refinery and the Sinclair Refinery.

Dates: 1923-circa 1986

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: CL0001

Additional Information:  Some of the items in this collection are available online.

 

CRUME COLLECTION

Title:  Crume Collection

Accession Number:  2016.2

Note:  Nine Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 photographs were donated by Charles Crume, son of Edna Isabel Downing and Edward Miller Crume. The photographs were found in Isabel Downing’s photograph album. Isabel Downing was the daughter of R. E. Downing, manager and part owner of the Crosbie and Gillespie Gas Plant, and Edith Downing. According to Charles Crume, the R. E. Downing family built the historic Tulsa house at 232 North Sante Fe in 1918..

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: CC001

Additional Information:  Some of the items in this collection are available online.

 

JUNIOR LEAGUE OF TULSA ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION

Title: Junior League of Tulsa Historic Preservation Project Oral History Collection

Accession Number: 2012.3

Note: This audio collection of interviews, 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.

Dates: 1979-1981

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: JLT0001

Additional Information: The audio for the collection is available online. Transcripts, when completed, are added to the online collection. 

 

LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTION

Title:  Local History Collection

Accession Number:  2016.1

Note:  This is an artificial collection containing items of interest about Tulsa and to a lesser extent the state of Oklahoma. Content is mainly oversized and/or rare items from the local history vertical files, including photographs, documents, transcripts, and scrapbooks. This is an ongoing collection, and material will be added as needed.

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: LH001

 

MEDIA CENTER OKLAHOMA HISTORY AUDIOVISUAL COLLECTION

Title: Media Center Oklahoma History Audiovisual Collection

Accession Number:  2013.5

Note:  The collection consists of 41 videotapes in VHS format and one 33 1/3 LP. The items were with withdrawn from the Media Center because the formats are being phased out from the circulating collection. As they are not available in a digital format but are of enduring value, they were transferred to Archives and Special Collections.

Dates: 1976-circa 2005

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: MCOK001

Access:  This collection is available for in-library use only.

 

OKLAHOMA POSTCARD COLLECTION

Title: Oklahoma Postcard Collection

Accession Number:  2013.3

Note:  This postcard collection of Oklahoma scenes was collected and donated by the Knowles family and by Dorothy Louden.

Dates: some pre-1950s; primarily 1960s-1980s

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: OKPC001

Additional Information: The majority of this collection is available online.

 

SPOTLIGHT THEATRE

Title:  Spotlight Theatre

Accession Number:  2017.1

Note:  In late 1952, a small group of veteran actors from Tulsa Little Theatre began meeting. In a short time, they formed the Spotlight Club. The Spotlight Club moved from a downtown location to Riverside Studio in February, 1953. The first performance of Drunkard & Olio was performed there on November 14th, 1953, and it has played virtually every Saturday night since then. This collection mainly consists of operational and promotional documents.

Dates: 1953-2015.

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: ST001

 

TULSA CITY-COUNTY LIBRARY 1912-1991

Title:  Tulsa City-County Library 1912-1991

Accession Number: 2016.3

Note:  Content consists of research materials, photographs, and other items used in the publication Tulsa City-County Library 1912-1991. Materials document Library history specifically and Tulsa’s history to a lesser extent.

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: TCCL001

 

TULSA CLUB MEMBERSHIP CARD COLLECTION

Title:  Tulsa Club Membership Card Collection

Accession Number:  2015.1

Note:  The collection consists of 85 membership cards dating from 1923-1949 and is arranged chronologically. Card information generally includes member signature, residence, business address, and associated fees.

Dates: 1923-1949

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: TC001

 

TULSA LIBRARY HISTORY AUDIOVISUAL COLLECTION

Title:  Tulsa Library History Audiovisual Collection

Accession Number:  2013.6

Note:  This collection mainly consists of audiovisual resources that cover Tulsa City-County Library buildings, services, events, and programs, including Books Sandwiched In, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and the Zarrow Award. Items were transferred from the Tulsa City-County Library Media Center in 2013.

Dates: 1921-2012

Location: Tulsa City-County Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Number: TLH001

Subject Guide

Sheri Perkins
Contact Info
History and Digital Collections Librarian
Research Center, Central Library
400 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK 74103-3830
918-549-7423
Send Email
 

ABOUT FINDING AIDS

Finding aids, or collection guides, are descriptive inventories, indexes, or guides that archivists create to describe and provide access to the contents of the collections that they hold. These guides are tools that researchers can use to gain access to archival materials. They are often used to determine the relevance of a collection to a specific topic.

A finding aid will usually include known general information like the name of the creator of the material, the date span of the material, and the quantity; although you’ll likely find biographical or historical information about the creator and a narrative description or summary of the collection. Generally, you’ll also find information on how the material is organized (it may be broken down into a number of "series") and for many collections the finding aid will include a listing of all the boxes and the folders contained in them (sometimes with a great deal of detailed information on their contents and sometimes just a basic listing).

 

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