Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 13, No. 3
September, 1935

book cover

two pages from book

Page 251

The year 1935 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of printing in Oklahoma. This was an epochal event and while it had none of the glamour of military operations, yet it denoted the greatest step toward education, progress and civilization.

There is in the archives of the Oklahoma Historical society a small book, the first ever printed in Oklahoma. It is only a child's book and is printed in the Muskogee (Creek) Indian language, but every page is illustrated with wood cuts which were so common in old time children's books. Only upon the front page is there a word of English, but it is fortunate that the date of its printing is plainly shown on that page.

The Union Mission where the first printing press was set up and where the first printing was done, was in what is now Mayes County, Oklahoma, and a few miles southeast of Pryor, the county seat. The Chronicles is here presenting the first page and pages 8 and 9 of this unpretentious little book of 24 pages.

The first paper published in what is now the State of Oklahoma was the Cherokee Advocate, printed at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, in 1844. This was a real newspaper and had a good circulation. It was ably edited and would compare favorably with the weekly newspapers printed today. More than half of the paper for many years was printed in the Cherokee with the Sequoyah alphabet of 86 letters. This paper, the official paper of the Cherokee Nation, was published for many years. In volume eight, June, 1930, Chronicles of Oklahoma, there appears a page of the Advocate printed in the Cherokee language.

Two or three other papers were published in the Indian Territory prior to the Civil War: The Cherokee Messenger, also pub-

Page 252

lished at Tahlequah; The Choctaw Intelligencer, and the Choctaw Telegraph published at Doaksville. The first paper printed in the Chickasaw Nation was the Pauls Valley Enterprise — 1887. The first paper printed within the boundary of Oklahoma Territory was the Indian Herald, a little sheet published at the Osage Agency in 1876. The first paper printed in Western Oklahoma was the Cheyenne Transporter printed and published at the Darlington Indian Agency, beginning in 1879. This paper was published regularly until 1886.

The Oklahoma Historical society has been the custodian of newspapers of the State for more than 40 years. The Society receives regularly 62 daily and 252 weekly newspapers. The Eufaula Indian Journal holds the record as the oldest continued publication in the state. It is now in its 59th year. The oldest paper in Western Oklahoma is the Beaver Herald published at Beaver City, Beaver County, with a record of 49 years of continuous publication.

In commemoration of the centenary of printing in this State, the Oklahoma Press association, in cooperation with the University of Oklahoma Press and the Oklahoma Library association, celebrated the week of October 6, 1935, in an appropriate manner. The Press throughout the State of Oklahoma carried extended accounts of the history of printing within the state.

At the site of the Union Mission where the first printing press was set up, the Oklahoma Library association and the Oklahoma Press association dedicated, on October 11, at 2:30 p. m., a handsome granite marker, a picture of which accompanies this sketch. On that occasion the following program was conducted:

Dedication Program
Union Mission, Mayes County, Oklahoma, October 11, 1935
2:30 P. M.
Marker erected by Oklahoma Library Association
Joint Celebration
Oklahoma Press Association
Oklahoma Library Association

Bugle Call

Invocation, Rev. Ralph J. Lamb, Tulsa

Page 253

Greetings:  Mrs. J. R. Dale, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Library Commission. Introduced by Miss Mary Elizabeth Kitchen, Enid, President of Oklahoma Library Association. Mrs. Luther E. Tomm, Muskogee, Librarian General N. S. D. A. R. Introduced by Mrs. Cora Case Porter, Muskogee, Chairman O. L. A. Union Mission Marker Committee.

Mr. John Joseph Mathews, Pawhuska, Representing Osage Nation. Introduced by Mr. A. M. Landman, Muskogee, Superintendent of Five Civilized Tribes.

Address:  "Expansion of Publishing Business in Oklahoma," by Marshall L. Smith, Tulsa. Introduced by Jake Proctor, Pryor, Chairman Publishers' Centennial Celebration Committee.

Music:  Bacone College Quartette, led by Mr. Gordon Berger, Muskogee.

Address:  "The History of Union Mission," Professor Morris W. Wardell, Norman, representing Oklahoma University Press. Introduced by Mr. Thos. J. Harrison, Pryor.

Address:  "Printing at Union Mission," Dr. Grant Foreman, Muskogee. Introduced by Dr. B. D. Weeks, President of Bacone College.

Song:  "Recessional," by Rudyard Kipling, sung by Mr. Gordon Berger.

Unveiling of Marker by Kathryn Buster, great-great-granddaughter of Rev. Samuel Austin Worcester.

Benediction:  Rev. Joe Grass (Full-blood Cherokee, Mayes County)


                               Program Committee:

Mrs. Cora Case Porter, Muskogee
Sue B. Thornton, Tahlequah
Alma Reid McGlenn, Tulsa
Mrs. Catherine Jenkins, Muskogee
Jake Proctor, Pryor

Page 254

granite marker

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