Discover Oklahoma: Partnership seeks to develop nation's first higher education archive

Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have joined efforts to preserve history of Oklahoma colleges and universities.
BY MAX NICHOLS Modified: April 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm •  Published: April 28, 2013
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“The house became a center of controversy just before the nomination was proposed. Ultimately, OU entered into an agreement with the Jacobson Foundation to use the house for exhibits and events. The house was listed on the National Register in 1986.”

The first Oklahoma higher education property listed on the National Register was the Old North Tower at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond on June 21, 1971. It was followed by Old Central in Stillwater on July 27, 1971.

Next came the Cherokee Female Seminary on the campus of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah in 1973 and the St. Gregory's Abbey & College on the St. Gregory's College Shawnee campus in 1975. The President's House (known as the Boyd House) on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman and the Indian University of Tahlequah were listed in 1976.

These have been followed by properties in various parts of Oklahoma. They have ranged from the Old Science Building on the Southwestern State University campus in Weatherford to Mitchell Hall on the Eastern Oklahoma State University campus in Wilburton; and from Franklin Hall on the Panhandle State University campus in Goodwell to the Langston University Cottage Row Historic District in Langston.

OHEHS collections are held and maintained at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, said Prince. They include records detailing organization, policy, procedure, operation and transactions of college and university faculty and staff members; publications; institutional and oral histories, plus photos, films, videotapes, microfilms and memorabilia.

As the archivist, Prince processes collections donated to the collection. She also assists researchers and has created an outreach program that includes visits to all the colleges and universities in Oklahoma. She meets with librarians, archivists and other staff members on campuses and offers advice about archival policies, procedures, collection care and preservation.

All this amounts to a remarkable joint effort by OHS and OHEHS, said Blackburn, to preserve the histories of higher education campuses as they have helped Oklahomans realize their dreams for more than a century.

Max Nichols writes a monthly column for the Oklahoma Historical Society.

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