Oklahoma Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott Ph.D., FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Oklahoma Family History Research series.
History of Oklahoma
Oklahoma Vital Records
Census Records for Oklahoma
Background Sources for Oklahoma
Oklahoma Maps
Oklahoma Land Records
Oklahoma Probate Records
Oklahoma Court Records
Oklahoma Tax Records
Oklahoma Cemetery Records
Oklahoma Church Records
Oklahoma Military Records
Oklahoma Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Ethnic Groups of Oklahoma
Oklahoma County Resources
Map of Oklahoma


Periodicals

The Chronicles of Oklahoma is a valuable periodical published by the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1921. This ongoing series contains information about all aspects of life in the state and records created by and for its people. Volume 23 includes an article on the Edward Palmer Collection housed in the Carnegie Library in Enid, Oklahoma. Two cumulative indexes plus an annotated guide help locate individuals and subjects:

  • Chronicles of Oklahoma Cumulative Index. Vol. 1 (vols. 1–37, 1921–1959). Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1961.
  • Chronicles of Oklahoma Cumulative Index. Vol. 2 (vols. 38–57, 1960–1979). Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1983.
  • Welsh, Carol. An Annotated Guide to the Chronicles of Oklahoma, 1921–1994. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1996.

As many as fifty distinct publications are available for Oklahoma counties, regions, special interests, or the state. The Federation of Oklahoma Genealogical Societies publishes a quarterly Newsletter; and the Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly, which began in 1961 (formerly called The Bulletin, beginning in 1955) as the publication for the Oklahoma Genealogical Society (see Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies for addresses). See also Mary Jackson Duffe, comp. Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly Subject Index, 1955–1990 (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1992), which lists records for counties, Native Americans, schools, churches, newspapers, and other categories.

Other periodicals for the state include Dusty Trails, a quarterly publication of the Genealogical Institute of Oklahoma, 3813 Cashion Place, Oklahoma City, OK 73112; Prairie Lore, a publication of the Southwestern Oklahoma Historical Society; The Goingsnake Messenger, a quarterly published by the Goingsnake District Heritage Association (Westville, Oklahoma); and The Frontier Freedman’s Journal: An African American Genealogical and Historical Journal of the South, Indian Territory, and the Southwest, Angela Y. Walton-Raji, ed. www.hometown.aol.com/angelaw859/ffj.html.

Newspapers

The Oklahoma Historical Society has an extensive collection of newspapers published in Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory, and the state of Oklahoma, dating back to the Cherokee Advocate, which ran from 1845 to 1901 in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. Another newspaper was the Indian Chieftain, which was published between 1884 and 1900 in Vinita, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. Most are on microfilm (which can be purchased), and some indexes are available. A smaller collection is at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (see Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies). The Muskogee Genealogical Society indexed all Muskogee newspapers. These index cards are maintained by the Muskogee Public Library, Muskogee, OK 74401. See also:

  • Carter, L. Edward. The Story of Oklahoma Newspapers, 1844–1984. Muskogee: Published for the Oklahoma Heritage Association by Western Heritage Books, 1984.
  • Parker, Doris Whitehall. Footprints on the Osage Reservation. 2 vols. Pawhuska, Okla.: the author, 1984. These are newspaper abstracts for 1894 to 1907.
  • Pearcy, Deone K., and N. Dale Talkington, ed. Oklahoma Death Notice and Obituary Index to The Daily Oklahoman (1947–1974). Tehachapi, Calif.: T. P. Productions, 1992.
  • Ray, Grace. Early Oklahoma Newspapers: History and Description of Publications from Earliest Beginnings to 1889. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1928.

A brief history of newspaper publishing in Oklahoma is available online <www.ok-history.mus.ok.us/arch/news8.html>. The Margaret Carder Library in Mangum, Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Historical Society have microfilm copies of the Magnum Star, Sun Monitor, and Greer County Weekly.

Manuscripts

Large manuscript collections pertaining to Oklahoma’s history and people are housed at the Oklahoma Historical Society in the Archives and Manuscript Division, including the Indian Archives, which maintains an extensive manuscript collection of records pertaining to the state’s Native Americans. The division consists of a large number of individual collections. Outstanding among them are the Grant Foreman Collection, principally dealing with the Five Civilized Tribes; the Joseph Thoburn Collection, concentrating on anthropology, archeology and history; and the Muriel Wright Collection, Wright being the former editor of Chronicles of Oklahoma, with correspondence dealing with Choctaw and Oklahoma history and families.

The WPA’s Project S-149, Indian-Pioneer Papers (called the Indian-Pioneer History Collection), is located at both the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Western History Collection at the University of Oklahoma (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies). The project includes interviews of a large number of native and nonnative (both white and African-American) pioneers about their experiences and lives in Oklahoma. Included in these records are details of birth dates and places, parents’ names, and other genealogically pertinent information. Each repository, however, has indexed this collection separately.

In addition to the University of Oklahoma, other university libraries in the state have significant collections. The Angie Debo Collection at Special Collections, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, contains the personal papers, correspondence, and recollections of this important professor of history in the state. In addition to Blessing, Oklahoma Records and Archives, and Koplowitz, Guide to the Historical Records of Oklahoma (both cited in Background Sources), which indicate general manuscript holdings, guides for specific manuscript collections include:

Ashton, Sharron Standifer. Guide to Cherokee Indian Records Microfilm Collections: Archives and Manuscripts Division, Oklahoma Historical Society. Norman, Okla.: Ashton Books, 1996.

Gibson, Arrell Morgan. A Guide to Regional Manuscript Collections in the Division of Manuscripts, University of Oklahoma Library. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960.

Stewart, John, and Kenny Franks. State Records, Manuscripts, and Newspapers at the Oklahoma State Archives and Oklahoma Historical Society. Oklahoma City: State Department of Libraries and Oklahoma Historical Society, 1975.

An invaluable source is the Oklahoma Indian-Pioneer Papers collected during the 1930s by the WPA, which sponsored interviews with early settlers of the state. The collection includes nearly 11,000 oral histories preserved on microfiche. Several institutions hold copies, including the Oklahoma Historical Society, University of Oklahoma Libraries, and the McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa. In 2002, the Oklahoma Genealogical Society began publishing in its Quarterly, an alphabetically arranged list of the interviewees’ names with volume and microfiche number. Surnames beginning with letters, A, B, and C have been completed with others to follow. Volunteer transcribers have also begun placing these histories on the Web at <http://www.rootsweb.com/~okgenweb/pioneer>.

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