Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 9, No. 4
December, 1931
EDITORIAL

Page 355

In the September number of Chronicles, announcement was made that the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Historical Society would be held in Tulsa some time in January, 1932, the exact date of the meeting to be determined at the quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors to be held in October, 1931. It will be seen by the extract from the proceedings of the meeting of the Board, which was held on the above date, published in this issue, the annual meeting has been postponed until some time in March or April, the exact date to be fixed by the special committee on program, of which Judge Harry Campbell, of Tulsa, is chairman. This meeting is to be one of historical importance. The special committee contemplate making it a state-wide event, and will have on the program speakers of prominence recognized as authorities on American history. This meeting at Tulsa will be given publicity through the newspapers of the state, and every member of the Society will receive a special notice from the office of the Secretary.

D. W. P.

* * * *

The Oklahoma Historical Society has had installed since our last issue new bookstacks to care for the books in our rapidly growing historical library. The new book-stacks are five tiers, or five stories high and will furnish shelf room for many thousand volumes. This will add greatly to the facilities of the library. The Society has splendid reading and study rooms where the student may come and study history and have at his command all the reference works now in the library. The library is not as large as that of many other states but it contains all of the

Page 356

standard publications concerning the history of Western America. This organization has specialized upon the history of the Indian tribes and thre are hundreds of volumes of Indian history and archaeology including nearly all government publications upon these subjects. There are also hundreds of volumes of governmental publications extending back to the organization of the Continental Congress, including the proceedings of that organizations down to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States: and the proceedings of Congress of the United States from that date to the present time. The Society has only recently added to the library several hundred volumes of history and genealogical works. They comprehend the Colonial records of most of the original states.

D. W. P.

* * * *

THE WORK OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

By Harry Campbell.

A very important feature of the work of the Oklahoma Historical Society, seemingly not known to many people, is its stupendous collection of most all the newspapers of the State practically complete from early territorial days.

These papers are filed in the order of publication and so arranged that any issue of any paper in the collection can be found easily and quickly. One entire department of the Society is devoted to this work and a large space in the Oklahoma Historical Building on the capitol grounds at Oklahoma City is, set apart for these papers.

These files are open for inspection by anyone interested in looking up the history of past events in the State and they are especially valuable for research workers in history.

Another exceedingly important feature of the work of the Society is the arrangement of the old tribal government and court records of the Five Civilized Tribes in the custody of the Superintendent at Muskogee. The work is being done by Mrs. Rella Watts under the immediate supervision of Mr. Grant Foreman one of the directors of the Society who is giving his services free. He has been engaged for a number of years in historical research pertaining

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to the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes and has written a number of books on their history.

These tribal records, are not only arranged in their many classifications and chronology for ready reference, but they are being calendared according to the methods of the best historical libraries, so that each card or calendar, contains the date, name or writer and addressee, if a letter, brief and description of each document. About forty thousand cards or calendars have been made in a little over two years. The documents are filed in steel filing cases and the cards are filed under appropriate classifications in a series of card cases which give ready and accurate reference to the documents themselves. The work is so planned that a research student can tell by examining the card whether the document itself needs to be examined for fuller information.

This is an extensive piece of work and is being done with great care and accuracy and the indices or calendars are so arranged that reference to the records and even to the names of most of the people appearing in the records can be found almost instantly. These indices are very important to anyone looking up matters pertaining to old tribal court proceedings, the genealogy, etc., of the members of the tribes themselves, as well as matters of general historical interest and scope affecting the tribes and the country in which they live. Outstanding among the scores of subjects and classifications covered are schools, courts, ferries, cattle, roads, chiefs, legislative councils, pastures, traders, railroads, minerals, law enforcement, relations with other tribes and the United States, elections and divorces. This work is not complete, but is far advanced and no doubt will prove of great benefit as it becomes better known. The work is being done on the fifth floor of the Federal Building at Muskogee where the records are available to any one interested.

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