1921 Tulsa Race Massacre


Though resources on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre can be found throughout the Tulsa City-County Library system, TCCL's African-American Resource Center (AARC) at Rudisill Regional Library, in particular, and the Research Center at Central Library house the greatest number of resources. 

Centennial Events

This event series was developed by TCCL to commemorate the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Click the links to view the recorded events at www.youtube.com/tulsalibrary.

Past Events:

Travels With Tulsans: Tulsa Mobile -- Past and Present
Originally aired Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

Phil Armstrong and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission visited Mobile, Ala., in May 2019 to get inspiration for the upcoming Greenwood Rising project and other initiatives. Sponsored by Friends of the Tulsa City-County Libraries.
View the recorded event

1921 Historical Trauma: Business Goes on as Usual
Commemorating 1921 Through the Arts
Originally aired Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

Presented by Anthony “Tony B” Brinkley, this presentation showcases an array of talented local performers, including singers, poets, dancers, actors and spoken word artists. In honor of the Greenwood District of Tulsa, the performance addresses the issue of historical trauma and its lasting impact on the African American community, while focusing on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as an introspective centerpiece. Sponsored by the African-American Resource Center and the Tulsa Library Trust.
View the recorded event

Community Read Event: "Black Wall Street 100" Live Interview With Author Hannibal B. Johnson
Originally aired Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Hannibal B. Johnson speaks about his newest book, "Black Wall Street 100," via Zoom.
View the recorded event

Community Read Event: An Evening With Mira Jacob, Author of "Good Talk"
Originally aired Thursday, March 18, 2021

Join author Mira Jacob via Zoom as she discusses her book "Good Talk," in which she sensitively explores the ways we talk about race, sexuality and love. Audience Q&A to follow Jacob's presentation.
View the recorded event

Unite Tulsa 
Originally aired Thursday, April 8, 2021
We will commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial by sparking a conversation about race relations in Oklahoma, with particular emphasis on the themes of empathy, education and healing. Join Unite Tulsa for this forum for residents of Tulsa County to share the ways they're working to make our community a better, more inclusive place to live. Selected speakers will have five minutes to talk about their chosen topic using 20 slides set to auto advance every 15 seconds. Sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust.
View the recorded event

Panel Discussion: Who Watches the Watchmen?
Originally aired Thursday, April 29, 2021

Join a panel of experts as they discuss HBO's television series "Watchmen," based on Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name. Per HBO: "Set in an alternate timeline where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, "Watchmen" embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel ... while attempting to break new ground of its own." Panelists will examine the role of the Tulsa Race Massacre throughout the series. Sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust.
View the recorded event

Meet Author Jason Reynolds - 2021 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature
Originally aired Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jason Reynolds is the New York Times bestselling author of "All American Boys" and other works for young adult and middle-age audiences. "As a black man and white man, both writers and educators, we came together to co-write a book about how systemic racism and police brutality affect the lives of young people in America, in order to create an important, unique and honest work that would give young people and the people who educate them a tool for having these difficult but absolutely vital conversations," said Reynolds about his book "All American Boys," co-written with Brendan Kelly. 
View the recorded event

Friendship Mattered Then! Friendship Matters Now!
Originally aired Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Join us via Zoom for an inspiring presentation from Clifton Taulbert, author of "Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values That Build Strong Communities." For 36 hours in 1921, friendship lost its way. Great harm was done to people and property. Black Wall Street disappeared in billowing clouds of smoke. Dreams were shattered and some forever. According to Clifton Taulbert, the embrace of genuine friendship cannot restore the lost past, but it can ensure a different future … one where 1921 will not be repeated and where all are respected, affirmed and included. “Over the past few months of this year, the history of Tulsa 1921 has been revisited as scores of people … writers, young people, dancers, lawyers, movies, books, students and librarians all lending their voices as history to be taught and lessons to be learned. We are all in search for that more perfect union — a way of living together that requires friendship. We must not allow friendship to lose its way.”  Sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust.
View the recorded event

Books and Documents

1921 Tulsa Race Riot and the American Red Cross, "Angels of Mercy" (1993) by Robert Hower

The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and the Politics of Memory (2000) by Julia Forrester-Sellers

Annual report / National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 1921

Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District (1998) by Hannibal Johnson

The Burning Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (2001) by Tim Madigan

Death in A Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (1992) by Scott Ellsworth

Events of the Tulsa Race Riot Disaster (1922) by Mary E. Jones Parrish

History of Governor Walton's War on the Ku Klux Klan (1923) by Howard Tucker

Hush, Somebody's Callin' My Name: A Photographic Essay of Survival, Resilience and Perseverance (2008) by Don Thompson

My Life and An Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin (1997) by Buck Colbert Franklin

Reconstructing the Dreamland The Tulsa Riot of 1921: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation (2002) by Alfred Brophy

Report, Tulsa Race Riot Disaster Relief (1994) from the American Red Cross

Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy (2002) by James Hirsch

Riot on Greenwood: The Total Destruction of Black Wall Street, 1921 (2003) by Eddie Faye Gates

Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District (2014) by Hannibal Johnson

The Tulsa Race Riot (1946) by Loren Gill

Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (2001)

The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: The Politics of Lawlessness (1996) by Majorie Ann Tracy

The Tulsa Race War of 1921 (1975) by R. Halliburton

City Directories and Maps

City Directories

Ancestry Library Edition
The 1909-1935 Tulsa City Directories are available in the Ancestry Library Edition database. If you don't have your own subscription to Ancestry.com, Ancestry Library Edition is accessible at any library location.

City Directory Digital Collection
The 1910, 1920, 1921, and 1922 Tulsa City Directories have been digitized and are accessible from outside of the library.


National Park Service: 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Reconnaissance Survey

Sanborn Maps For pre and post Tulsa Race Riot Sanborn maps, use the 1915 and the 1939 maps.

Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 National Register Nomination

Tulsa Race Riot: A Report By The Oklahoma Commission To Study The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921

Newspapers and Vertical File Content


Tulsa World: 1906-present

Tulsa Tribune: 1904-1992


Bound photocopied Tulsa World articles from the first week of June, 1921 are available in the Research Center workroom.

Bound photocopied Tulsa Tribune articles from the first week of June, 1921 are available in he Research Center workroom.


Black Dispatch 
The Black Dispatch, an Oklahoma City Newspaper that covered the Tulsa Race Riot, is available online from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Oklahoman Archives 
The online archives date back to 1901.

Race Riot Vertical File
The Library's Race Riot vertical file content has been digitized. Content published before 1923 is freely accessible. Other content has been restricted to in-house use due to copyright concerns. From the link above, select advanced search, choose "the exact phrase" from the drop-down menu and use the phrase "race riot."

Tulsa Tribune 
The June 1st, 1921, Tulsa Tribune state edition is available online. This edition repeats the article "Nab Negro For Attacking Girl In An Elevator" from the previous day's edition. The original article in the May 31st, 1921, edition was torn from the paper before it was filmed. The June 1st article is the only one known to exist. 

Tulsa World and Tulsa Star
The Library of Congress has digitized pre-1923 newspapers, including the 1921 Tulsa World (titled Morning Tulsa Daily World in 1921) and the Tulsa Star. The Tulsa Star was Tulsa's African-American paper. There are no issues of the Tulsa Star after January 1921, and the office was destroyed in the race massacre.

Photographs and Film


Library of Congress

Tulsa City-County Library: 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Historical Society: 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

University of Tulsa: Tulsa Race Riot of 1921


The Solomon Sir Jones film collection is available online from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The collection consists of 29 silent black and white films that document  African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928.

Solomon Sir Jones was a Baptist minister, a businessman and an amateur filmmaker. Jones was born in Tennessee to former slaves and grew up in the South before moving to Oklahoma in 1889. Jones became an influential Baptist minister, building and pastoring fifteen churches. He was head of the Boyd Faction of Negro Baptists in America and was a successful businessman.

Jones filmed Oklahoma residents in their homes, in the businesses that they owned, and during their social, school, and church activities. The films document several Oklahoma communities, including Muskogee, Okmulgee, Tulsa, Wewoka, Bristow and Taft.

Tulsa footage can be found in at least five of the films (film two, film eighteen, film twenty, film twenty-seven, and film twenty-eight) and includes several shots of the Greenwood area.

Timeline and Other Resources

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

Greenwood Cultural Center

Tulsa-Greenwood Race Riot Claims Accountability Act of 2007

Tulsa Race Massacre Research Materials at Oklahoma State University

Tulsa World Race Riot Timeline

ODL Tulsa Race Riot


Other Resources

The list are representative of some of the resources, committees and grants formed around the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial.


1921 Race Massacre Resources – Tulsa, Oklahoma

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

The Victory of Greenwood

Programs – Grants – Curriculum




African-American Resource Center | Tulsa Library

Gilcrease Museum to Receive Eddie Faye Gates Tulsa Race Massacre Collection

Greenwood Cultural Center

John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation Historic Greenwood Curriculum Resources 

Tulsa Race Massacre Materials at McFarlin Library- University of Tulsa

Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 - Oklahoma State University

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre – Tulsa Community College

Tulsa Historical Society and Museum


1921 Race Riot Resources within the State of Oklahoma 

Oklahoma Digital Prairie - Tulsa Race Massacre

Oklahoma Historical Society – Black Dispatch

Oklahoma Historical Society – The Tulsa Race Massacre


1921 Race Riot Sources Outside of Oklahoma

Reparations, African Americans: Tulsa Race Riot: Call for Reparations - Cornell University

Ohio State University – Destruction of Black Wall Street – The Tulsa Riot

Huffpost – These Unforgettable Images Expose The Horror of the Tulsa Race Riots

Zinn Education Project – May 31, 1921: Tulsa Massacre

Archives and Special Collections

In-Library 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. The archives have a local history focus but are not easily classified in the catalog. Instead, items in the archives are found using online finding aids. The finding aids are available online. Some of the collection items are also available online. Information about online access is noted in the collection's finding aid. 

The Archives and Special Collections are housed in the Research Center at Central Library and are arranged by accession number. Collections are available for in-library use only. 

Title: 1971 Arkansas-Verdigris Navigation System Trip

Accession Number: 2019.4

Note:  In January 1971, local boosters, reporters, and Mayor Robert J. LaFortune took the first boat trip down the Arkansas-Verdigris Navigation System, now named the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). The collection includes newspaper clippings, magazines, and photographs related to the three-day trip.

Title: African-American Resource Center Tulsa Race Riot Collection

Accession Number: 2013.1

Note:  "One of the worst race riots in the nation’s history occurred in Tulsa over a 14-hour period on May 31- June 1, 1921. Dozens of people were killed, hundreds were injured and thousands were left homeless. Most of the segregated black district, known as Greenwood, was destroyed. Although the riot itself lasted only a few hours, its repercussions are still felt today." - Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

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

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 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. 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. Sam McBirney was vice president of the National Bank of Commerce, a bank that his family founded. Nettie McBirney died on December 16, 1982. She was 96 years old.

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

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 opened in 1921 in the City Hall with 500 donated books. The City took over the library 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. Lucille Page in memory of her husband, Charles Page. Located on the corner of Broadway and Main in downtown Sand Springs, the Art Deco style building was designed by Otis Floyd Johnson, a Chicago architect associated with the Lorado Taft Studio. It featured bronze doors, banisters, a memorial window, and a memorial plate designed by Ralph Watkins of Chicago. The library contained woodwork carved by noted Oklahoma folk artist Nathan Ed Galloway. Lorado Taft designed the Page Monument, across the street from the library. The Page Memorial Library was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The two-story building was leased to the Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) system when the system was started in 1962 and continued to serve as the downtown community library for many years. It was an outstanding building with 7,400 sq. ft, 40-ft. ceilings and marble stairways, but 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 East 4th Street. TCCL 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 Library building reverted to the City, its purpose to be a local history museum.

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

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.

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

Title: Kirkpatrick "AMB" Scrapbook

Accession Number: 2019.2

Note: Alwilda Millikin Owings was a former Tulsa philanthropist who died January 21st, 1973 in Santa Barbara, California, where she had lived for 27 years. Her first husband was Tulsa oil man George S. Bole, who died August 26th, 1939. She married Zebulon Paul Owings Jr., an executive for Shell Oil Co, five years after Bole’s death. While in Tulsa, she and Bole resided at Oakwold, a 25-room mansion constructed in 1929 on a 30-acre tract on the southwest corner of 41st and Lewis. Later, the estate was subdivided for homes and became known as Bolewood Acres. Alwilda was a Holland Hall School trustee and donated the house to the school in 1942. She was a member of Philbrook and First Presbyterian Church and a board member of Tulsa Town Hall. She was survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick.

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.

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 withdrawn from the library 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

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

Title:  Spotlight Theatre/Jennifer Carlson Collection

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

Title:  Tulsa Chapter Of The Daughters Of The American Revolution

Accession Number:  2019.1

Note:  The Tulsa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was organized January 24th, 1912. Susan Merrill Clinton served as founding Regent. The early Tulsa DAR focused on Indian memorials, including the Creek Council Oak Tree and the Cherokee, Creek, and Osage land boundary marker in Owen Park. The collection mainly consists of scrapbook photographs and newspaper clippings. 

Dates:  1864-1935

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.

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

Title: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Scrapbook

Accession Number: 2019.5

Note: The scrapbook is a collection of undated newspaper articles and unidentified photographs. The scrapbook was in poor condition, and items in the scrapbook were deteriorating. Newspaper articles were photocopied. Photographs were removed from the individual pages and stored separately.

Newspaper articles indicate a time period during the administration of Sheriff Bill (W.W.) Field and Glenn H. Brown. Subjects include staff, budgets, bootlegging, gambling, and other crime.

Dates: 1950s

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

Title:  Van Voorhis Collection

Accession Number:  2019.3

Note:  Major Frank Van Voorhis (1859-1956) was born on the banks of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. He settled in Tulsa in 1909, working in real estate. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania militia in 1879, developed home guard units in Tulsa during World War I, and was given the rank of brevet major in the Oklahoma National Guard.

Digital Archives


To promote lifelong learning and contribute to a stronger community, the Library provides access to digital collections rich in materials relating to the history, culture, industry, geography, people, government, education, and development of Tulsa and Oklahoma. The collection currently represents resources in a variety of formats including photographs, maps, texts, postcards, and interviews.  These collections function as digital surrogates that aid in the preservation of rare and fragile resources.

Beryl Ford Collection

In 2004 the Rotary Club of Tulsa, through its not-for-profit subsidiary Tulsa Archives, Inc., purchased from Beryl and Lydia Ford the entire Beryl Ford Collection, the largest and most significant collection of photographs and artifacts relevant to the history of the City of Tulsa and surrounding area. As its official Oklahoma Centennial Project, Rotary teamed with the Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Historical Society to quickly provide the public access to this excellent photographic collection of Tulsa history. Tulsa Archives, Inc. conducted fundraising efforts to support a two-year project via the Tulsa City-County Library. Preservation and archiving of this significant Tulsa treasure of photographs and artifacts was made possible in part through the generosity of the Tulsa World, Lorton Family, Chester Cadieux, the Rotary Club of Tulsa, and many other community-minded corporations, institutions, and individuals.With the successful completion of the capital campaign, TCCL embarked upon the project to inventory, catalog, and digitize the collection. In December 2007, TCCL staff successfully completed the Centennial Project.

Mr. Ford passed away in 2009. We are very fortunate that he shared part of his legacy as Tulsa historian with us in the form of this invaluable collection.

Biography Index

This collection consists of the the indexes to complied biographies in Local History Collection books and indexes to some articles found in the Local History Collection biography vertical files.

The full text of these items is not available online. To view these items, visit the Research Center at Central Library, contact rcaskus@tulsalibrary.org, or call 918-549-7323.

Charles Page Memorial Library Collection

Browse historic images from the dedication of the original Charles Page Library in Sand Springs.

City Directories: Tulsa

City directories contain a wealth of information for genealogists, researchers, and history enthusiasts. In these resources, you will find addresses and occupations of residents, business directories, advertisements, and more. Starting in 1912, the directories include reverse street address listings. 

Developing Tulsa: The Austin Hellwig Collection

Austin Hellwig has produced more than 30 photo journals on the city of Tulsa, particularly on the subject of road construction. This sample of Mr. Hellwig's work features photographs from the 1980s and '90s and documents the city's expansion as demonstrated through roadway improvements. Other Tulsa County communities and historic bridges are also featured.

Finding Aids Collection

These inventories provide information about items in our physical collections that are housed with the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection. All of the materials described in the finding aids may be consulted by visiting the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection in the Research Center of Central Library. Some of the materials described in the finding aids are available online; links to these are included in the finding aid. In other cases, particular records of interest may be scanned and sent to a researcher for a fee. Please contact Research Center staff to make an appointment or to learn more about our collections.

Junior League of Tulsa Oral History Collection

This audio collection, 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. We are in the process of transcribing these oral histories and could use your help. If you are interested, please contact me.

The Levorsen Oil Photography Collection

A.I. Levorsen was the first dean of the School of Mineral Sciences at Stanford University, but he spent much of his career in Tulsa. Dr. Levorsen donated his extensive collection of texts, maps, and photographs regarding the petroleum industry to the library in 1968. Here, view 300 images from the early days of the Oklahoma petroleum industry.


Digital images include historical Oklahoma and Tulsa maps representing a fraction of the map collection available in the Research Center of Central Library. For more information on the items available, visit our maps subject guide.

Tulsa aerial photographs in this digital collection are described by Township, Range, and section. The Tulsa County Assessor provides online access to Tulsa County maps that will assist with area identification:http://www.assessor.tulsacounty.org/assessor-maps-county.php.

The Oil and Gas Journal

The Oil and Gas Journal was first published in Beaumont, Texas in 1902 following the oil discovery at Spindletop. It was originally titled Oil Investors' Journal and was a bimonthly publication. By 1910, it was titled The Oil and Gas Journal and was published weekly in Tulsa. Our print collection dates back to 1909. The periodical provides a good deal of information on our community's history and on the oil and gas industry in general.

Oklahoma Postcard Collection

Postcards carry their own messages about the pride we take in our state's natural beauty, modern urban areas, and famous personalities. Take a look at some of the images used to promote Oklahoma over the years.

Refining In Tulsa: The Cosden Legacy Collection

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 began operating a 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. 

Tulsa City-County Library

Find images and film of Tulsa City-County Library over the years.

Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection

The Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection consists of items from the Tulsa and Oklahoma Collection, including books from the classified section, materials from the Archives and Special Collections, and newspaper clippings and other ephemera from the vertical files.

Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

This online collection contains photographs from the TCCL African-American Resource Center and the Beryl Ford Collection. Vertical file content on the subject can be found in the Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection.


A majority of our yearbook collection resides in the Research Center at Central Library, but some can be found at other library locations in our system.

We will add to this digital collection as resources allow, but you can access a full list of our print yearbook collection from the yearbooks tab above.

Oklahoma In Other Digital Collections

Abandoned Oklahoma

Find new and old images, maps, and videos of historic places in Oklahoma.

Library of Congress Digital Collections

Find photographs of Oklahoma here.

Oklahoma Department of Libraries Digital Collections

These collections include documents, photographs, newspapers, reports, pamphlets, posters, maps, and an author database ranging in date from the late 1800s to present.

Oklahoma News Report (OETA)

Find Oklahoma history videos on OETA's youtube channel.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Search the archives catalog for documents, photographs, microfilm, oral histories, maps, and video. Search The Gateway to Oklahoma History for photographs from the Oklahoma Publishing Company, the parent company of the Oklahoman newspaper (formerly the Daily Oklahoman).

Oklahoma State University Digtial Collections

The collections cover a variety of topics related to Oklahoma history.

Solomon Sir Jones Film Collection

The Solomon Sir Jones film collection is available online from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The collection consists of 29 silent black and white films that document African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928. Tulsa footage can be found in at least five of the films (film two, film eighteen, film twenty, film twenty-seven, and film twenty-eight).

Tulsa Historical Society Online Collections

Tulsa Historical Society is working to place their entire photograph collection online. Their online collection does not include the Beryl Ford Collection and will eventually number approximately 35,000 images.

United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI)

Use the interactive map to find Tulsa and Oklahoma photographs.

USGS Photography Collection

Find images of Oklahoma taken during geologic studies of the United States and its territories from 1868 to the present.

University of Central Oklahoma Digital Collections

Find images related to the history of the university, Edmond, and Oklahoma here.

University of Oklahoma's Digital Collections

Find Civil War Manuscripts, oral histories of Indians in Oklahoma, Indian-pioneer papers, Native American manuscripts, and photography archives here.

University of Tulsa Digital Collections

Find resources on the Tulsa Race Riot, the history of the University, and more.

Voices of Oklahoma

Voices of Oklahoma.com is dedicated to the preservation of the oral history of Oklahoma. Voices and stories of famous Oklahomans and ordinary citizens are captured forever in their own words. Oil and gas, ranching, politics, education and more are all visited in these far-ranging interviews. Students researching any of these areas can listen to first-person accounts of the way life was and draw from knowledge that may guide and shape their future.


In-Library Directories

City Directories 1909-present (with these exceptions: 1945, 1949, 1952, 1962, and 1998)
Entries often include occupation and adult children living in a household.  Beginning in 1912, the directories may be searched in a reverse manner as the streets are listed alphabetically. This collection is available in both print and microfilm formats. 

Telephone Directories 1927-present (with these exceptions: 1929, 1930, 1936, and 1943)
The telephone directories cover a greater geographic area than the city directories but do not include the reverse street section. 

Cross Reference Directories 1943-present (with these exceptions: 1947 and 1953)
Cross reference directories in the collection are organized by telephone number and by street address. 

City Directories Online

Ancestry Library Edition
The 1909-1935 Tulsa City Directories are available in the Ancestry Library Edition database. If you do not have a personal subscription, the database is accessible from any library location.

City Directory Digital Collection
The 1910, 1920, 1921, and 1922 Tulsa City Directories have been digitized and are accessible from outside of the library.



These indexes are lists of subjects that point to the resource where they occur. The documents are not available online. The documents can be accessed by visiting the Research Center or by contacting the library via email: askus@tulsalibrary.org, phone: 918-549-7323, or text: text AskTCCL to 918-876-5533. If you are interested in volunteering to help further any of the local history index projects, please let us know.

Indexes Online

Death Notice Index
The Death Notice Index provides a searchable online index of the dates of death notices that have appeared in the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune. Covering the years 1963-1990, the index contains the name of the person and the date that the death notice appeared in the newspaper.

Digital Collections: Biographies Index
Compiled biographies, sometimes called biographical encyclopedias or dictionaries, contain biographical sketches that have been collected and published. These are generally collected according to a particular theme, such as a prominent individuals in a particular country, state, or county.

Vertical files contain newspaper and magazine articles, brochures, reports, and ephemera for businesses, organizations, homes, buildings, events, and people in the area. You can read more about the vertical files in the above tab. 

This collection consists of the the indexes to complied biographies in Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection books and indexes to articles found in the  biography vertical files.

Local Publications Index
The Local Publications Index provides a searchable online index to older Tulsa area publications housed in the Research Center at Central Library. These publications include: The American Indian, Gusher, Magazine Tulsa, Tulsa Home & Garden, and Tulsa School Review.

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature
Indexes subjects in the popular press from 1890-1982. 

Library History


In 1930, the Library established the first bookmobile in Oklahoma. 

Video: Tulsa Library's Bookmobile

Document: Tulsa Library's Bookmobile

Location Histories

Bixby Library

The first Bixby Library was housed in a leased 2,000 square foot building in downtown Bixby. The property owners, Fred and Dalda Moore, provided the library with a building specifically designed for the purpose and leased it until it was purchased by the library system along with the adjacent land, which would be used for future expansion. Read more...

Broken Arrow Library

The history of the Broken Arrow Public Library can be traced to a group of 17 young women, who in 1906 organized the Self Culture Club. This group stared out as a literary club and almost immediately became active in civic affairs. The club soon realized the need for a public library. The members organized a Tea, and interested individuals were asked to donate one or more books for the library’s collection.  Read more...

brookside library

Brookside Library

Brookside Library opened on January 19, 1951 in a rented storefront facility at 3516 S Peoria Avenue. It was Tulsa’s first branch library to be in the heart of a shopping center and “a colorful place designed to get the gloom out of library surroundings”. Mrs. Helen Norvell was the branch librarian, followed by Lucile Wallace. Read more...

Central Library

After several attempts to establish a library in Tulsa by women’s clubs beginning in 1905, a group of citizens finally persuaded Andrew Carnegie, in 1912, to provide $35,000 to build a library if the city would provide a suitable site and $3,500 per year to maintain it. Read more...

charles page memorial library

Charles Page Library

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. Read more...

collinsville library

Collinsville Library

Collinsville Library plays a vital role in the history of what was once a little pioneer town in Indian Territory. In 1903 a group of women formed the Comedy of Errors Book Club. Their first order of business was to adopt the project of founding a library for Collinsville, Oklahoma. Their first books were donated from a Methodist Church organization and were kept in the home of Comedy of Errors Book club founder, Mrs. J.A. Tyner. Read more...

Glenpool Library

Library service to Glenpool began in 1962 with a bookmobile.  In 1985, the community requested full-time library service from the Tulsa City-County Library and a stationary bookmobile was located on the parking lot of the Glenoak Shopping Center. Read more...

hardesty library

Hardesty Regional Library

In 1964, The Woodland View Library opened in a strip center at 61 st & Lewis with Pat Woodrum as the Librarian. Ten years later she became the System’s Director. It was a popular branch from the very beginning, although it was small and had little room for programs. Pat Dorman became the Librarian in 1965, followed by Dusty Wade in 1967, Susie Herwig in 1970, Mary Ann Cozad in 1976, Lisa Plumly in 1977, and Rosemary Moran in 1982. Read more...

Herman and Kate Kaiser Library

The Herman and Kate Kaiser Library opened on June 23, 2008. Glenda Kilmer, branch manager, says, "we are so excited about the new building – we have an expanded collection, a meeting room that can be booked by community groups, and a wide range of programs and activities. Our customers are the best and we serve a diverse community." Read more...

jenks library

Jenks Library

Years ago, in the old City Hall, officials found a cupboard containing 30-40 old books. This was the closest Jenks had to a library until a 1961 city-county bond issue created a mandate for a Jenks Library. Under the leadership of Mrs. Allie Beth Martin, a 1,200 sq. ft. site was selected in the Odd Fellows Building on Main Street. Read more...

kishner library

Judy Z. Kishner Library

Initially library service in Sperry Community consisted of a weekly visit from the bookmobile. A group of twenty-four civic-minded ladies and Claude Miller, the spokesperson, formed the Sperry Friends of the Library Group in 1975. Their dream was a branch library for the Sperry community. Read more...


Kendall-Whittier Library

On a hot summer day in 1931, opening ceremonies were held for the largest of the four original library branches built in Tulsa. The East Second Library, located at 2537 E. Second St., stood on a lot donated by R.T. Daniel. It was a colonial revival red brick building with large windows and a vaulted ceiling. Virginia Allen Baird was the librarian in those early years. Read more...

martin library

Martin Regional Library

Two important events occurred in Tulsa in 1949. The first – the introduction of television – would have long-term national and international impact. Of more immediate significance to the Tulsa library was the arrival of Allie Beth Martin, an energetic woman who held a library science degree from Columbia University. She had worked in several library systems before moving to Tulsa with her husband Ralph, a physician, and their daughter Betsy. Read more...

maxwell parek

Maxwell Park Library

On the near north side of Tulsa, library services have been delivered from several locations. The original Sheridan Branch was located from the 1950’s in leased space on the 2nd floor of the Sheridan Village Shopping Center at Admiral and Sheridan. Jane Cansler was the Librarian. It later moved into a street-level space across the street at 62 N. Sheridan becoming the North Sheridan Branch Library. Read more...

nathan hale

Nathan Hale Library

Perched at the edge of a small neighborhood in midtown Tulsa at 23rd and Sheridan sits the Nathan Hale Library. F. Allen Whiteside designed the 4,882-square-foot library. When it opened in 1963, the Nathan Hale Library was the largest branch in the city. Read more...

Owasso Library

In 1961, a tax levy was voted by Tulsa County voters to build and re-furbish county libraries. Because Owasso was a fast growing city, the first new branch was built there and opened in 1963. The library was housed in a leased space of 1300 square feet at 124 West 1st Street. Read more...

Peggy V. Helmerich Library

The Peggy V. Helmerich Library opened to the public on February 10, 1991 as a 9,800 square foot facility, on a three acre lot, with capacity for 35,000 volumes. It was designed by Wallace and Bates Architects with a provision for future expansion. Read more...

pratt library

Pratt Library

"Sitting atop a gentle hill near the river in Sand Springs, the Harry Pratt Library looks as warm and inviting to customers as an old friend. Thick grass and a smattering of pine trees cover the acre lot. Inside, the library is bright, cheerful, full of materials...." Thus states a recent description of the present Pratt Library, but this was not always so. Read more...

rudisill library

Rudisill Regional Library

Library service in north Tulsa dates back to 1924 and the Greenwood Branch. In 1932 the North Boston Branch opened. It was replaced by the Apache Circle Branch in 1963. Both Apache Circle and Greenwood closed when Seminole Hills opened in 1967. Mrs. Freddie Rudisill was the librarian there. Read more...

florence park library

Schusterman-Benson Library

“Library of the Future Is Here Today” exclaimed the Tulsa Tribune when the Florence Park Library opened in January of 1955. The library was designed to resemble a Japanese tea garden, and architect Robert Buchner’s design for the building included Japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, a unique circular fireplace with pink glass inserts and mobiles, and blue glass walls in the reading room. Read more...

skiatook library

Skiatook Library

The Skiatook Library opened in 1940 with WPA funds. The City of Skiatook took over operation in 1953. The City-County System began management in July, 1962. It was housed in an old 1,500 sq. ft. storefront on the main street of town, at 110 East Rogers Blvd. Billie Shehi was librarian there until mid-1988, when she retired. A larger building, formerly a feed store at 228 E. Rogers, became available in 1976. It was remodeled to accommodate the library and a community meeting room. Read more...

south broken arrow library

South Broken Arrow Library

Because of the quick growth of the city of Broken Arrow Library to the south, it became obvious that a second branch library was needed by early 1990s. After a great deal of exploring, a site at 3600 S. Chestnut was an ideal location. Working with the City of Broken Arrow and the homeowners in the neighborhood, the Tulsa City-County Library successfully obtained the property in 1993. Bates/LZW, Architects, designed the 6,100 sq. ft. building and it opened in 1994. Theresa Fowler was appointed librarian. Read more...

suburban acres

Suburban Acres Library

As one of the most recognized buildings in the area, the Suburban Acres Library still remains a premier neighborhood attraction for its residents. With just 4,200 square feet to house its collection and a 99-year lease with Tulsa Public Schools, the Suburban Acres Library opened its doors in 1963. Read more...

zarrow library

Zarrow Regional Library

The City of Tulsa had a branch library in the Red Fork community, west of the River, at 2410 West 41st Street beginning in 1929. It was a 2,480 sq. ft. building across the street from Clinton Jr. High School. Mae Swofford was Librarian there from 1951 to 1971, when she retired. Betty Kennedy then became the manager, and she remained until 1992. She saw the construction of the new West Regional Library at 2224 West 51st, which was to take the place of Red Fork. Read more...




Mrs. J. D. Seaman writes to Carnegie but receives no reply.


Carnegie pledges $35,000 for a Tulsa library if the city will provide a site and assume maintenance costs.


Bond issue for library site fails.


The Tuesday Book Club establishes a committee to push for a public library. The committee convinces the City Commission to issue $7,000 in bonds to buy a library site and to pledge $100 a month for maintenance.


Mrs. Alma R. McGlenn, Tulsa's first librarian, greets guests at the Library's opening in the County Courthouse basement.


Library Trustees accept Carnegie gift of $55,000. City of Tulsa takes over the operation of the Library.


Formal opening of the Tulsa Public Library in the new building at Third Street and Cheyenne.


Book deposits placed in parks.


Red Fork opens.


The Library establishes the first bookmobile in Oklahoma.


Four branches funded by $75,000 from a 1930 bond issue are built: East, West, North, and Greenwood.


Miss McGlenn retires. James E. Gourley becomes head librarian.


Red Fork opens in new building. Brookside opens first storefront library. W. G. Skelly donates two book trailers.


Sheridan Village opens. Florence Park opens in new building, expanding service begun with trailer in 1951.


East, West, North, and Greenwood remodeled and repaired. Service is expanded to all Tulsa County.


Friends of the Public Library is organized and formed.


City and County sign a pact for library service. Metropolitan Library Board is formed.


Tulsa City-County Library Commission is organized. A $3.8 million bond issue passes with a $1.9 mill levy for Library operation.

Broken Arrow


Broken Arrow Library opens as a project of the Self Culture Club.


Broken Arrow Library is transferred to the City of Broken Arrow.



Collinsville Library begins with donation of books from Mrs. A. J. Tyner.


Collinsville Library opens in City Hall and is operated by members of C.O.E. Club.


Carnegie Library opens at 1223 North Main Street.



Library opens with WPA funds.


City of Skiatook takes over operation with six hours service per week. 

Sand Springs


Library organized by Women's Club opens in City Hall after unsuccessful attempt to secure Carnegie funds. 


Mrs. Charles Page, widow of Sand Springs founder, donates Page Memorial Library and an annuity for upkeep. 


Library opens with WPA funds.


City of Skiatook takes over operation with six hours per week service.

Tulsa City-County Library System


TCCL system begins operation. Brookside, Sheridan, and Skiatook move to large quarters. North Harvard, Jenks, and Owasso open. Florence Park is renovated and expanded. James Gourley resigns.


Allie Beth Martin becomes director. Red Fork, Collinsville, Page Memorial, East Second, Greenwood, and West Tulsa remodeled. Prattville and Bixby open. Tulsa County Historical Society forms and requests space in the new Central Library. TCCL becomes partial depository for federal documents. Suburban Acres, Nathan Hale, and Broken Arrow open, all built from bond funds. North Branch closes and is replaced by Apache Circle. Construction of new Central Library begins.


North Harvard moves to larger quarters. Woodland View opens.


New Central Library opens. Central Library auditorium is named after Alfred E. Aaronson. New services are provided including Special Services to the Blind and a Fine Arts Center.


Brookside moves to larger quarters.


Greenwood and Apache Circle close and are replaced by Seminole Hills. "Books Sandwiched In" begins.


Regional library system is instituted.


Special services area formed to include service to shut-ins, nursing home residents, differently-abled individuals, and inmates of the county jail.


Owasso Library is moved to larger quarters. Tulsa Library Trust is created.


New cable television opens. Land at 26th and Garnett is purchased for the East Regional Library. Senior Citizen Information and Referral Service begins. Adult literacy program is established.


New Jenks Library opens. Property at 71st and Memorial is obtained from Dayton-Hudson for future building. Fine Arts moves to a new area and is renamed Media Center. INFO II paid research service begins.


Seminole Hills Branch closes, and North Regional Library opens. New Prattville branch opens, and the trailer is sold. New Allie Beth Martin East Regional Library opens. Skiatook moves to new larger quarters. Sperry branch opens. Allie Beth Martin dies. Pat Woodrum becomes director. Allie Beth Martin Scholarship Fund is established. Passage of State Question 507 raises allowable mill levy ceiling for libraries to four mills.


Citizens Information Service begins for all ages. East Second Library is renovated. Library becomes depository for U.S. Foundation Center. Information and bus shelter on Civic Center Plaza opens.


Friends of the Public Library sponsers first Adult Creative Writing Contest. Collinsville Library is renovated. TCCL becomes depository for state documents. Voters approve one-mill increase for library funding, bringing support to three mills.


Tulsa Friends help form Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma. First annual library staff recognition event is held. Nine Friends groups support TCCL. Channel 24 loses its funding and closes. North Regional Library is renamed Freddie Martin Rudisill North Regional Library. Genealogy collection moves to Rudisill North Regional Library . Tulsa Area Library Cooperative is formed.


New library cards are issued to all library patrons in preparation for new computerized circulation system. Bixby Library and site are purchased.


TCCL goes online with the Automated Library Information Systems (ALIS). Skiatook moves to temporary quarters then to a new larger facility. Red Fork closes and West Regional Library opens. Central Library floors are renumbered.


Tulsa's first annual Storytelling Festival is sponsered. Library Hall of Fame is established. Woodland View, closes and South Regional Library opens. Tulsa Library Trust raises $1 million.


Young People's Annual Creative Writing Contest begins. Page Memorial Library undergoes multi-phase renovations. Glenpool opens in permanent bookmobile on shopping mall parking lot and later moves to leased storefront. First annual Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguised Author Award is presented to Norman Cousins. Bixby Library is enlarged.


Maxwell Park Library replaces Sheridan and North Harvard libraries. First annual Challenger 8 Run to Read benefits library. Larry McMurty receives Distinguished Author Award.


John Updike receives Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.


Tulsans pass $4.2 million bond issue and one-mill increase to support library efforts. Dial-up computer access to library catalog is installed. Toni Morrison receives Distinguished Author Award. Friends of the Tulsa Public Library receives Harwelden Award from the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa.


Career centers set up in regional libraries. Saul Bellow receives Helmerich Distinguised Author Award.


Books for Babies project is created with Tulsa County Reading Council. Library catalog available online.


Oklahoma Timeline


Francisco Vasquez de Coronado crosses western Oklahoma in search of the golden city of Quivira. He claims land for Spain but makes no permanent settlement. Hernando de Soto explores along present eastern border of Oklahoma. Don Diego del Castillo spends six months in the Wichita Mountains prospecting for gold and silver.


Robert-Rene Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claims for the King of France all lands drained by the Mississippi River (including present-day Oklahoma) under the name of Louisiana.


All of Louisiana north of the thirty-third parallel is designated as the District of Louisiana and placed under the administration of Indiana Territory; William Henry Harrison thus becomes the first American governor of Oklahoma. 


District of Louisiana is organized as the Territory of Louisiana with the seat of government at St. Louis. 


Lieutenant James B. Wilkinson descends the Arkansas River crossing northeastern Oklahoma.


Several Cherokee chiefs and headmen inform President Jefferson that a portion of the tribe wishes to emigrate to the West.


Territory of Louisiana is organized as the Territory of Missouri. George C. Sibley, United States Indian agent, explores the  Great Salt Plains near the present Cherokee. 


Cherokees sign the first removal treaty obtaining land in the present state of Arkansas, and the movement of one-third of the tribe to the new location begins. Fort Smith is established on the present border of Oklahoma to protect the immigrant Indians.


That portion of the Territory of Missouri south of 36°30' is organized as the Territory of Arkansas, including all of Oklahoma except a strip along the present northern boundary. Thomas Nuttall, English naturalist, visits Oklahoma studying flora and fauna. Boundary between the United States and the Spanish possessions is fixed at the Red River and the one-hundredth meridian, thus establishing the southern and western limits of Oklahoma. 


Choctaws purchase the area south of the Canadian and Arkansas rivers- the first eastern Indian tribe to acquire land in Oklahoma—but few remove to the new location. Arkansas legislature passes an act creating Miller County in southeastern Oklahoma and establishing the Miller Courthouse, the first court within the present state. 


Rev. Epaphras Chapman founds Union Mission on Grand River among the Osage-the first Protestant mission in Oklahoma. Sequoyah completes the Cherokee alphabet. 


First post office in Oklahoma is opened at Miller Courthouse. Fort Gibson— the first fort in Oklahoma—is established on the Grand River; Fort Towson is established on the Red River near the mouth of the Kiamichi.


Treaty with the Choctaws fixes the present eastern boundary of Oklahoma from Fort Smith to the Red River.


Creeks purchase a tract of land in Oklahoma, and a portion of the tribe prepares to emigrate. Military road is constructed from Fort Gibson to Fort Smith, the first road established in Oklahoma. 


First immigrant Creeks arrive in Oklahoma and begin to lay out farms in the Arkansas valley. Cherokees in Arkansas exchange their land for a tract in Oklahoma; the boundary established by this treaty fixes the remainder of the present eastern boundary of the state.


Arkansas Cherokees begin their removal to Oklahoma; Sequoyah settles in the present Sequoyah County; Dwight Mission, established by the Presbyterians for the Arkansas Cherokees, is removed to Oklahoma. Sam Houston, after resigning as governor of Tennessee, setdes near Fort Gibson and is granted full citizenship rights by the Cherokee Council. President Andrew Jackson in his message to Congress advises removal of all Indians remaining in the East.


The Indian Removal Act is passed by Congress. Choctaws cede the remainder of their land in Mississippi and prepare to remove to Oklahoma, the main removals taking place during the suc- ceeding three years. A Presbyterian church is organized among the Creeks in the Arkansas valley. 


Cherokee Council provides for the opening of five schools, the first school law enacted in the present state of Oklahoma. Washington Irving accompanies United States rangers on an expedition from Fort Gibson to the present site of Norman [and back to Fort Gibson], recording his experiences in A Tour on the Prairies. Creeks cede the remainder of their land in the East, thus paving the way for the removal of the succeeding four years. A Presbyterian church is organized among the immigrant Choctaws at Wheelock, and a Baptist church among the Creeks. 


Seminoles sign a removal treaty, which is followed by the long and exhausting Seminole War and the final colonization of the tribe in Oklahoma.


United States Commissioners draw up a territorial form of government for the immigrant Indians, the first of many futile attempts to create an Indian state of Oklahoma. Leavenworth-Dodge Expedition from Fort Gibson visits southwestern Oklahoma and establishes friendly relations with the wild tribes.


Samuel A. Worcester installs a printing press at Union Mission and publishes the first book printed in Oklahoma.Comanche and Wichita Indians enter into treaty relations with the United States at a council held near the present site of Lexington. Criminal jurisdiction of the Federal courts of Arkansas is extended over Oklahoma. Cherokees remaining in the East cede their land to the United States, thus paving the way for the removals of the succeeding three years. 


Chickasaws surrender their lands in the East and begin their removal to Oklahoma. 


Choctaws complete a council house of hewn logs near the present site of Tuskahoma, the first capitol built in Oklahoma.


Newly arrived Cherokees and "Old Settler Cherokees" adopt a new constitution and establish a council ground at Tahlequah. 
1842  Fort Washita is established to protect the Chickasaw settlements from the wild tribes of the Southwest. Choctaw congregation at Wheelock builds a stone church, which still stands as the oldest church building in Oklahoma. 


A great council of eighteen Indian tribes is held at Tahlequah, and a code of intertribal law is drawn up and adopted by the Cherokees, Creeks, and Osages. 


The Cherokee Messenger—the first newspaper published in Oklahoma-is issued at a Baptist missionary station north of the present Westville; it is followed a month later by The Cherokee Advocate, published at Tahlequah. First cotton gin in the Cherokee Nation—probably the first in Oklahoma-is constructed on the Arkansas fifteen miles above Fort Smith. 


First Masonic Lodge established in an Indian tribe is organized at Tahlequah. Hordes of California gold-seekers follow a well-defined trail across Oklahoma. 


Texas relinquishes the land north of 36° 30', thus forming the southern boundary of the Oklahoma Panhandle. 


Fort Arbuckle is established. 


Tahlequah is incorporated under Cherokee law—the first incorporated town in Oklahoma. 


Kansas-Nebraska Act defines the southern boundary of Kansas at 37°, thus fixing the northern boundary of Oklahoma.


Seminoles separate from the Creeks and form their own government. Chickasaws set up a tribal government, adopt a constitution, and establish Tishomingo as their capital.


Butterfield stage and mail route is laid out, crossing Oklahoma from Fort Smith west and south to the Red River. 


An intertribal law code is drawn up by the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles) at North Fork Town. Fort Cobb is established on the western frontier of civilized Indian settlement. 


Choctaws adopt the constitution under which their government functions until the end of the tribal period.


United States abandons the forts in Oklahoma; most of the Indian tribes align with the Confederates; thousands of Union Indians flee to Kansas. 


A Union military expedition from Kansas penetrates to Fort Gibson.


Union forces defeat the Confederates at Honey Springs, the most important battle fought in Oklahoma during the Civil War.


ate Indians surrender to Union forces more than two months after Appomatox; United States officials hold a council with the Indians and lay down terms for the resumption of treaty relations. 


Five Civilized Tribes sign treaties with the United States freeing their slaves, ceding the western half of Oklahoma for the settlement of other Indians, and agreeing to a tentative intertribal organization. The name Oklahoma is first suggested by Allen Wright, member of the Choctaw treaty delegation. Congress grants franchises for the construction of the first two railroads across Oklahoma. 


United States makes the first of a series of treaties, assigning reserva- tions to Indian tribes in the ceded territory. Creeks adopt their final constitution. 


Fort Sill is established as the base of operations against the Plains Indians. 


Construction is started on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad—the first to enter the Oklahoma area. Federal government begins the survey of the Chickasaw district, establishing the initial point from which all of Oklahoma except the Pan- handle is eventually surveyed. First meeting of the intertribal council is convened at Okmulgee.


First coal mining on a commercial scale begins at McAlester in the Choctaw Nation. 


Fort Reno is established.


Resistance of the Plains Indians to white encroachment is finally crushed. Intertribal council at Okmulgee holds its last session. Last buffalo herd is reported in Oklahoma.


First telephone in Oklahoma is set up, connecting Fort Sill and Fort Reno. "Boomers" begin their attempts to settle on the "Oklahoma Lands." Will Rogers is born in the Cherokee Nation near Oologah. Population of the Indian Territory is estimated at 81,381; this includes Indians, a few white residents, and ex-slaves of the Indians.


Isparhecher begins the rebellion against the Creek government known as the Green Peach War. Atlantic and Pacific Railroad establishes a station in the Creek Nation at a place called "Tulsey Town" by the Indians. 


Isparhecher faction makes peace with the constitutional Creek government. Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association leases the "Outlet" from the Cherokee Nation.


A company of Choctaw citizens drills for oil near Atoka.


Congress passes the Dawes Act, providing for breaking up the Indian reservations into individual allotments and opening the surplus land to white settlement.


1889 First Federal court in Oklahoma is established in Muskogee. Oklahoma's first producing oil well is drilled near Chelsea. First Run opens an area in Oklahoma to white settlement; Oklahoma City, Guthrie, Norman, and other cities and towns are established. 


1890 Congress creates a Territorial government for the settlers in the "Oklahoma Lands"; Guthrie becomes the capital; George W. Steele is appointed governor; the First Territorial Legislature adopts a code of laws and establishes a school system. Panhandle is joined to the Territory of Oklahoma. First Federal census shows a population of 78,475 in Oklahoma Territory and 180,182 in the area of the Five Civilized Tribes.


First statehood convention is held in Oklahoma City. First Territorial college- later the Central State College- is opened in Edmond; the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College is opened at Stillwater. The Sac and Fox, Iowa, Shawnee, and Potawatomi reservations are opened for settlement, adding two new counties. 


University of Oklahoma is opened at Norman. The Cheyenne and Arapaho country is opened for settlement, adding six new counties.


Dawes Commission is created for the purpose of liquidating the affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes. Oklahoma Historical Society is founded at Kingfisher. Cherokee Outlet is opened to white settlement by the greatest of all the Runs in Oklahoma.


Greer County is awarded to the United States by a Supreme Court decision and joined to the Territory of Oklahoma.


Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles make agreements with the Dawes Commission. 


Congress passes the Curtis Act providing for compulsory liquidation of the Five Civilized Tribes. Many Oklahoma and Indian frontiersmen serve with Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War.


United States takes over the schools, the Dawes Commission starts allotting the lands, and the first townsites are platted for the Five Civilized Tribes. 


First course in geology is taught at the University of Oklahoma. Federal census shows a population of 398,331 in the Territory of Oklahoma and 392,060 in the Five Civilized Tribes area.


Kiowa-Comanche and Wichita reservations are opened to settlement, the last opening in Oklahoma. 


Inhabitants of the Five Tribes area hold a convention and draw up a constitution for a state to be named Sequoyah. Glenn Oil Pool is discovered.


Congress passes the Enabling Act providing statehood for Oklahoma; the constitutional convention meets at Guthrie.


November 16. Oklahoma is admitted to the Union, the forty-sixth state; the first election reveals overwhelming Democratic majority; Charles N. Haskell, the first governor, is inaugurated at Guthrie. Special Federal census enumerates a population of 1,414,177 for the new state.


State capital is removed to Oklahoma City. Population, 1,657,155.


State legislature provides for placing a statue of Sequoyah in Statuary Hall in the national Capitol. Lee Cruce is inaugurated as governor.


Cushing Oil Pool is discovered. 


Healdton Field is discovered. 


Robert L. Williams is inaugurated as governor. 


Oklahoma National Guard sees service on the Mexican Border. 


United States declares war on Germany; in the first draft Oklahoma registers 173,744; the sporadic "Green Corn Rebellion" breaks out against conscription. 


End of first World War, for which Oklahoma furnished 88,496 men in uniform and purchased $116,368,045 worth of Liberty Bonds. 


J. B. A. Robertson is inaugurated as governor of Oklahoma. 


Oklahoma for the first time in its history votes Republican. Oil fields in Osage County begin spectacular production. Population, 2,028,283.


Tulsa's Greenwood District is the site of one of the most devastating race riots in United States history.


John Calloway (Jack) Walton becomes governor, is impeached and removed from office, and is succeeded by Martin Edwin Trapp.


Greater Seminole Oil Field is developed, bringing serious overproduction in the oil industry.


Henry S. Johnston becomes governor. 


Oklahoma City Oil Field is opened.


Governor Johnston is impeached and removed from office; William J. Holloway becomes governor. 


Population, 2,396,040. 


William H. ("Alfalfa Bill") Murray is inaugurated as governor. Governor Murray closes Oklahoma oil wells in an effort to stabilize prices. Wiley Post, noted Oklahoma air pilot, completes round-the-world flight of 16,474 miles in 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes.


E. W. Marland is inaugurated as governor. Will Rogers and Wiley Post die in airplane crash in Alaska.


Construction begins on $22,750,000 Grand River Dam in eastern Oklahoma. 


Leon C. ("Red") Phillips becomes governor. 


Population, 2,336,434, a loss of 59,606 since census of 1930. 

Timeline information taken from Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State (1941) from the WPA. Find a more in-depth timeline of Oklahoma history in the Oklahoma Red Book Volume II (1912).

Tulsa Timeline


De Soto reaches the thriving Creek Indian settlement Tallasi, on the Talapoosa River in what is now the state of Alabama. Tulsey or Tulsee (the original spelling of Tulsa) later becomes a shortened pronunciation of Tallasi (Debo 3-4). 


Benjamin Hawkins, United States agent to the Creeks, mentions an independent daughter town of Tallasi, Lochapoka (Place of Turtles). The Lochapoka will eventually settle in the area of present Tulsa (Debo 5). 


Disturbed by the encroachment of the advancing white frontier, a number of the Upper Town Creeks join Tecumseh and the British and begin to wipe out the frontier garrisons and massacre the settlers. Andrew Jackson and other Indian fighters invade the country and crush this opposition (Debo 6). 


Fort Gibson is established near the mouth of the Grand River (Debo 9). 


The more subservient Lower Creeks decide to accept the overtures of the United States and estabish a new home beyond the Mississippi. The first party settles at the "Three Forks" of the Grand, Arkansas, and Verdigris rivers near the present Muskogee (Debo 6-7). 


Lieutenant James L. Dawson with a detachment of eight mounted men explore the Arkansas valley from Fort Gibson to the mouth of the Red Fork (Cimarron). His official report of this expedition gives one of the first specific descriptions of the area around Tulsa (Debo 9).


A group of United States rangers is sent up the Arkansas River from Fort Gibson through the Tulsa area to explore the region to the west. They are accompanied by Henry Ellsworth, who had been sent by the government to promote friendship between the different Indian tribes, and by the three travelers, Washington Irving, Charles Joseph Latrobe, and Count Albert de Pourtales. Irving in A Tour of the Praries and Latrobe in The Rambler in North America describe the expedition and give descriptions of the Tulsa area (Debo 10).


At Fort Gibson, the Lower Creeks of the Three Forks settlement make a treaty with the recently arrived Cherokees fixing the boundary between the two tribes: the northern Creek line followed Edison Street and the eastern boundary lay thirty miles east of the city (Debo 9).


To protect the immigrant Indians from the wild native tribes, Dawson, now Captain Dawson, routes a military road from Fort Gibson up the Arkansas to the mouth of the Cimarron, and then across the upland to the mouth of the Little River. Two outposts are established near these locations. The Cimarron post, named Camp Arbuckle, was almost immediately abandoned (Debo 13).


Federal officials call the more conservative Upper Creeks to a council at Lochapoka and urge them to emigrate. They agree, but, before they can orderly evacuate, certain elements of remaining conservative Lower Creeks attack white land-grabbers in the  "Creek Uprising." A mob of frontiersman invade the Upper Creek country, advance to Locahapoka, drive the unresisting Indians into the swamp, and burn the town. The War Department orders General Thomas S. Jesup to enlist the aid of Opothle Yahola, a statesman of the Upper Creeks, and remove "the hostiles" by force. The Lochapoka gather ashes from their sacred fire and begin their journey westward to an unknown destination (Debo 7-8). 

The Lochapokas arrive in Tulsa (Debo 13).


Lewis Perryman settles on the Verdigris River, eighteen miles east of the Lochapoka settlement, and he and his fellow townsmen establish Big Spring ceremonial grounds there (Debo 18).


Robert M. Loughridge and his wife, young Presbyterian missionaries, open a day school and then a boarding school among the Cowetas, and missionaries from this station began preaching in the surrounding settlements (Debo 20).


Lewis Perryman establishes a trading house, Tulsa's first store, at Lochapoka, most likely on the Arkansas near present Thirty-first Street (Debo 19). His home, an enormous story-and-a-half house of hewn logs surrounded by other log buildings used as slave quarters, corncribs, and storehouses, is built near Thirty-Third Street and South Rockford Avenue (Debo 19). Though not citizens of Lochapoka, mixed bloods like the Perrymans settled freely in any part of the Creek Nation. (Debo 20). 

In the late 1840s, the Baptists establish churches at Big Spring with James Perryman, brother of Lewis, as the minister and at Broken Arrow with another native pastor named Yartochee. At the same time, day schools were supported at Concharty, Choska, and Chiaha from the annuities paid by the United States (Debo 20).


Achee Yahola, the chief who led the Lochapokas in the removal and guided them through the first hard years of pioneering, dies of smallpox. It is said that Achee Yahola built the first cabin for his family near the present intersection of First Street and Frisco Avenue. He later moved to a point south and west of the angle formed by the bend in Main Street and was buried near this dwelling (Debo 16-17). 

A full blood named Sapulpa from Osochee, a town on the Chattahoochee in Alabama, opens a store on his Rock Creek farm, about a mile southeast of the present city that bears his name (Debo 18). 

Under a tribal appropriation, the Presbyterians open a large boarding school, which they name Tullahassee, in the Three Forks neighborhood northwest of present Muskogee (Debo 20).


Rev. J. Ross Ramsay of the Tullahasee station travels up the river to preach at "Tulsee-town," providing the first report of a preaching mission to reach the Lochapoka settlement. His artlcle mentions the fact that "Brother Templeton," probably William H. Templeton of the Coweta station, had occasionally preached there during the preceding months (Debo 21). 

The Creeks sign a treaty with the United States that provides $500,000 in cash to compensate them for losses growing out of land cessions and the removal. Federal officials manage to effect the distribution to the "heads" of families rather than to the officers of the town (Debo 23).


A federal census, made after the Lochapokas had recovered somewhat from the hardships of their forced migration, showed that their population had dropped from 565 to 274, a loss of 48 percent (Debo 13). 

The first of two payments, established by the Creek Treaty of 1856, is made resulting in a distribution of $20.10 per capita (Debo 23).


The second of two payments, established by the Creek Treaty of 1856, is made resulting in the distribution of $16.65 per captia (Debo 23).


The United States abandons Indian Territory, and southern delegations work actively to win the Indians over to their side. Some Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes enter into an alliance with the Confederacy and enlist in the army.  Others repudiate the alliance and begin sending appeals for help and expressions of loyalty to the United States Indian agents in Kansas (Debo 24-25). 

The Union Indians rally around Opothle Yahola, gather up their moveable possessions, round up their livestock, and assemble near the junction of the North Fork and the Deep Fork. They are joined by a number of Seminoles, and a few Union sympathizers from other tribes. Hearing that a force of Texas Cavalry and Confederate Indians under the command of Douglas H. Cooper are planning an attack there, the Indian party moves up the Deep Fork and are joined by the Euchees (Debo 25). 

On November 19th, a detachment of Texas cavalry attack near the present Keystone but are driven back. Opothle Yahola withdraws and retreats toward the east. War records designate this the Battle of Round Mountain (Debo 25). The Lochapoka gather their possessions and join the exodus (Debo 26). 

On December 9th, the battle of Chusto-Talash or Caving Banks is fought between the Union Creeks and Cooper's Confederate troops on Bird Creek, resulting in fifteen Confederate casualties, who were buried on the hillside near the creek bend, an appeal for help to Confederate Colonel James McIntosh, and the retreat of the Union Indians (Debo 27-28). 

On December 26th, McIntosh's troops engage the Union Indians on Hominy Creek, west of present Skiatook, in the Battle of Chustenahlah. McIntosh takes possession of the camp and supplies, and the Union Indians abandon their belongings and flee on foot through the night and all the next day to Kansas (Debo 29). In the following days, the refugees are pursued, and some are captured. The refugees that escape and survive collect on the Verdigris in southern Kansas and later move to a camp near LeRoy on the Neosho (Grand) River (Debo 31).


Federal officials convince the Union Creeks in the refuge camps to cede a tract of land for the purpose of colonizing tribes from Kansas in the Indian Territory. The chiefs agree to surrender the land along the north and east side of the Arkansas, including the home of the Lochapokas (Debo 33).


In the summer, the refugees are brought to the neighborhood of Fort Gibson, now held by Union forces (Debo 33). 

In September, Brigadier General Richard M. Gano with a Texas brigade, and Stand Watie with his Cherokees cross the Arkansas above present Muskogee, pass through the site of Pryor, and capture a Union supply train of more than 250 loaded wagons at the crossing of Cabin Creek. They burn part of the supply trains and retreat with the rest, passing through Tulsey town and crossing the Arkansas at a place known as "Gano's Crossing" (Debo 34).


The Lochapoka return to their desolated settlement (Debo 34). 

The Unites States Congress makes provisions for the building of one north-south and one east-west road across the Indian Territory (Debo 50).


A United States census shows that the Lochapoka has a population of 264 and that the Creek Nation as a whole has lost 24 percent of its population (Debo 36). 

The Creek Nation, under the influence of mission school graduates, adopts a written constitution modeled after that of the United States (Debo 42).


The Osage reservation is settled (Debo 47).


On March 25th, Tulsa's first post office is established at George B. Perryman's ranch house located north of present Forty-first Street between Peoria and Utica avenues. George's brother, Josiah C. Perryman, is made postmaster, and the office is designated as "Tulsa" (Debo 37).


On April 8th, a second post office in the Tulsa region is established at Wealaka, close to the home of Pleasant Porter, on the south side of the Arkansas near present Leonard. Wealaka serves as a new school site after Tullahassee is destroyed by fire. Robert M. Loughridge is placed in charge of the school (Debo 46). 

White cattlemen begin to occupy the Creek country (Debo 65). W.E. Halsell, a young Texan married to a Texas girl of Cherokee descent, comes and establishes his right, as an intermarried Cherokee, to use the Cherokee range. He goes on to operate the largest ranch in the Tulsa area: his holdings extend from the Creek line north almost to Bartlesville, and from the Osage line almost to the Verdigris, and his Mashed O brand was known throughout the southwest (Debo 67).


A neighborhood school, possibly at the Sand Springs, operates during the school year of 1881-1882 with a reported enrollment of thirty-six and an average attendance of fifteen, of which only one was able to speak English (Debo 45).


In January, grading of the railroad [Atlantic and Pacific], from Vinita to the Verdigris River in Catoosa and then to Tulsa, begins (Debo 53). 

On May 1, Antoine Gillis moves to Tulsa with his family, and camps under a blackjack between Archer and Elwood, the first white residents of the city (Debo 53). 

In the summer, Harry C. Hall, a contractor for a railroad company, and his brother, James Monroe Hall, in charge of the company store that moved from terminal to terminal with the advance of the railroad, pitch a tent on the north side of railroad right of way, between Main Street and Boston Avenue (Debo 52-53). The grading is complete to a station located on the Cherokee side of the line at Lewis Avenue, but H.C. Hall and other white men persuade the railroad's chief construction engineer to move the terminal into Creek country, where the tribal laws were believed to be more liberal to non-citizen traders. The engineer complies and the terminal is placed at the present [1943] Union Station. A railroad engineer runs a line south-southeast at right angles to the track, along what is now Main Street. This furnishes the basis of the later townsite survey and explains the diagonal direction of Tulsa's business section (Debo 54). 

Chauncey Owen establishes a tent boardinghouse north of the terminal right of way, supplying the contractors with beef and other supplies from his farm (Debo 54). 

Dr. W.P. Booker, the city's first physician, occupies another tent as his office (Debo 54). 

The first passenger train reaches Tulsa the morning of August 21st (Debo 54). 

In the summer, Robert Childers, a Creek citizen who had served as judge of Coweta district, moves to Tulsa and puts up what is believed to be the first of the new houses on the present Cheyenne Avenue between Archer and Brady streets (Debo 55). 

During the winter, Owen's tent is replaced with a frame hotel, the "Tulsa House" (Debo 55). 

Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Archer, a young mixed-blood Cherokee, erects the first store building, a box shack twelve by fourteen, of rough lumber, with a tent roof. 3 (Debo 55). 

Conservative Creeks, led by a full blood Isparhecher (pronounced Spi-hee-chee), rise in arms against the constitutional government in the insurrection known as the Green Peach War (Debo 56). 

A Sunday school is organized when Mrs. Slater, a Congregationalist and the wife of a carpenter working on the railroad station, invites Dr. Booker, a Baptist, and J.M. Hall, a Presbyterian, to the Slater tent on the south side of the right of way, west of the present Main Street (Debo 60).


The Archer store opens for business. The Perryman brothers open a new store in the area, and the post office is moved here. H.C. Hall opens a store (Debo 55). 

J.M. Hall succeeds Perryman as postmaster, and the post office is moved to the Hall store. George Perryman opens a livery stable. The town now has two practicing physicans, a drugstore, a lumber yard, and a subscription school for children of the settlers (Debo 55).

Bill Sennett pitches a tent near the the Gillis Family, bringing race horses that ran from the present intersection of Elgin Avenue and the Frisco tracks. Later, Sennet moves east of town and builds a regular race track which extends north from the corner of Pine Street and Peoria Avenue (Debo 56). 

The Indian agent at Muskogee employs a force of "Indian police" to restrain the lawless and to spill the cargoes of forbidden firewater that are smuggled into Indian country. Noah Partridge, Daniel Drew, and J.B. Burgess are chosen to serve in this capacity at Tulsa (Debo 60). 

Robert M. Loughridge rides up from Wealaka and preaches what is probably the first sermon in new Tulsa on the front porch of the Hall store (Debo 61). 

Railway officials construct a temporary bridge across the Arkansas. The new terminal receives the name of Red Fork (Debo 65). 

Crane and Larimer, ranchmen from Kansas, come to Pawhuska and obtain a ten-year lease of eighty-five thousand acres from the Osage Council. The Cherokees lease all the unoccupied portion of the Outlet to the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association (Debo 68).


The teacher of the subscription school turns out to be a professional gambler, parents withdraw their children, and the school dies. They appeal to Rev. W.P. Haworth, a Presbyterian missionary at Vinita, and his board sends him to take charge of the Tulsa work. The mission school building, a white, barn-like structure with a belfry is constructed at the southeast corner of present Fourth Street and Boston Avenue. Among its teachers is Lilah D. Lindsey, a highly educated descendant of the Perrymans who had formerly served on the Wealaka faculty (Debo 61).  

On January 3rd, a post office is established at Red Fork (Debo 65). The Muskogee newspaper characterizes Red Fork as probably the biggest shipping point in Indian Territory, listing numbers of cattle carloads handled at the terminal (Debo 66). 

Alvin T. Hodge, a Perryman descendant, comes to Tulsa from Broken Arrow and establishes a pasture between Elgin and Lewis avenues (Debo 70). The Creek ranchmen organize a livestock association, electing Pleasant Porter as president (Debo 71).


On October 5th, Haworth organizes a Presbyterian church in the mission building (Debo 62).


The Methodist Episcopal church is organized at the mission building, holding its services there until it is moved to is own building on North Main Street (Debo 62). 

George Perryman, now operating a large ranch with thousands of cattle (5 Brand), moves his family from the White House to a two-story house with a cupola, in the block that is later occupied by the Tulsa County Courthouse (Debo 70).


L.C. Perryman, principal chief of the Creeks, persuades the council to encourage citizens to fence out all of the Texas cattle that drift or are driven into the Creek country. A law is passed permitting Creeks to enclose large tracts along the border, and when these pastures are built, they are leased to the Texas cattlemen (Debo 69). 

The first United States Court in Indian Territory is established at Muskogee (Debo 77).


The first Roman Catholic services are held in a private home (Debo 62).


The Southern Methodist church is organized at the mission building (Debo 62). 

The Cherokee Outlet opens, and the United States government appoints the Dawes Commission to close out the affairs of the Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes who owned the eastern half of present-day Oklahoma (Debo 76-77).


Jeff Archer is killed when a gun goes off in his store and strikes a keg of powder (Debo 73).


A Federal judge rules that Indian Territory towns have the right to incorporate. 

The town at this time has thirty-eight business firms operating under traders' licenses, Indian businessmen, who pay no license, and "intruders," who dodge license obligations. Among the "trading houses" is a bank, organized this year by Jay Forsythe, two or more mills, and three weekly newspapers: the Indian Republican, predecessor of the World, the Tulsa Democrat, predecessor of the Tribune, and the Tulsa Review (Debo 78).


The Baptists begin services in Tulsa (Debo 62).


Tulsa is incorporated on January 18th, 1898. Edward Calkins becomes the first mayor, Wess Kennedy becomes the city marshal, C.B. Lynch becomes the city treasurer, and J.M. Hall becomes president of the school board (Debo 78).

The mission school holds its last session 1898-1899 (Debo 79). 

The Curtis Act is passed, providing for the platting and sale of Indian Territory townsites (Debo 79). Land allotment begins. Each Indian is allowed to select the tract on which his dwelling is located. Large landholders had to surrender all their holdings in excess of the alotted acreage unless their children were numerous enough to keep them under family control (Debo 84).


Hall and three other Tulsans borrow $1,050 to purchase the mission school property in their own names until the city is able to repay them. The mission school building is raised two stories and opens as a public school in the fall (Debo 79).


An agreement is drawn up with the Dawes Commission and ratified by the Creeks on May 25th. Under the terms of the agreement, a Federal townsite commission, of which one member was to be nominated by the Creek chief, was authorized to plat and appraise the townsites (Debo 79-80). 

On June 25th, oil is discovered, through the efforts of Dr. Fred Clinton, son of Charles Clinton, and Dr. J.C.W. Bland, an intermarried white man, in Red Fork. The discovery well was drilled on a farm held by Mrs. Bland under tribal tenure (Debo 80, 85). 

J. Gus Patton and his younger brother, Dan W. Patton, plat the townsite, using the Frisco track as the baseline and the old, informal designation of Main Street. The parallel streets are designated as avenues, naming them for American cities: western cities-Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, and so on-lying alphabetically west of Main and eastern cities-Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit-lying in the same succession east. This townsite had a total are of 654.58 acres, and it was all in the Creek Nation. The townsite commission fixed the total valuation at $107,173.30. (Debo 81-82).


The sale of the townsite lots takes place. The Creek Nation realizes $659 from the sale (Debo 82). 

The Commercial Club is organized with G.W. Mowbray as president (Debo 86).


On July 10th, the Secretary of Interior issues regulations permittng leasing of allotted land, including land outside of the townsite that had previously been restrticted, under Department supervision (Debo 86). 

The Katy railroad is built through Tulsa (Debo 86). 


Tulsa outgrows its townsite, and the Dawes Commission recommends removal of restrictions from the sale of tracts needed for townsite additions (Debo 84-85). 

The first wagon bridge over the Arkansas is completed on January 2nd. M. L. Baird, George T. Williamson, and J.D. Hagler constructed the toll bridge with their own capital. A sign at the entrance reads, "You said we couldn't do it, but we did" (Debo 87-88). 

Mrs. W.N. Robinson and several other women form a musical organization which they name the Hyechka Club from the Creek word for music. Mrs. Fred Clinton becomes its first president (Debo 110). 


On November 22nd, Robert Galbreath and Frank Chesly are drilling a wildcat on the allotment of Ida E. Glen, about ten miles south of Red Fork, when it blows into production. The Glenn Pool quickly becomes the richest small fiedl in the world (Debo 88). 

The First National Bank building, a five-story "skyscraper" with an elevator is completed. A new Robinson hotel is completed at Third and Main and becomes a resort for rich oil men trading leases and swinging big deals (Debo 88). 


A committee of the United States Senate meets with oil men and the Commercial Club at the Elks' Hall in the Seaman Building on West Third. The oil men are there to protest against governmental restrictions that hinder oil industry development. A number of full blood indians attend the meeting and choose Chitto Harjo (Crazy Snake) as their spokesman. David M. Hodge interprets for Harjo who asks the government officials to uphold the removal treaty with the Creeks, the treaty that promised the Creeks that their lands in the West should always remain under their own institutions (Debo 96). 


The Commercial Club gives twenty acres to induce a refinery from Humboldt, Kansas to locate here. It opens on a small scale with only one still, but is significant because it is Tulsa's first refinery (Debo 90). 

Henry Kendall College, a Presbyterian institution established in Muskogee in 1894, is brought to Tulsa, and two red brick buildings are constructed on a hill two and a half miles miles east of the business district. The Kendall College bell rings out the news of statehood on November 16th (Debo 90). 

The city's population is 7,298, an increase of 425 percent in seven years (Debo 90). 


Page founds a home for orphans and a widow's colony on land acquired at the Sand Springs (Debo 102). 


The city's population is 18,182 (Debo 97).

The Oil and Gas Journal, formerly Oil Investor's Journal, moves its main offices from Beaumont, Texas to Tulsa (Debo 97). 

The City's first park, Owen Park, officially opens on June 8th (TPC 7). 


Joshua S. Cosden, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, who had been operating a small refinery in Osage County, comes to Tulsa and buys an eighty-acre tract in West Tulsa on the south side of the Arkansas. It opens with a daily capacity of five thousand barrels (Debo 99). 


The Municipal Convention Hall is constructed at a cost of $125,000 (Debo 99). 

The Holy Family Church at Ninth and Boulder is completed and dedicated (Debo 99). 


Waite Phillips makes his first big strike in Okmulgee County (Debo 104). 


In the fall, a white-robed secret organization calling itself the "Knights of Liberty" takes a party of IWW members from the police to the edge of town, and there whips, tarrs, and feathers them, ordering them to leave the community (Debo 101). 


Racial bitterness culminates in the Tulsa Race Riot. For two days the city is under martial law (Debo 101). 

The Presbyterians release control of Henry Kendall College, and it is chartered as the University of Tulsa (Debo 106). 


In 1922 and 1923, Tulsans vote seven and a half million dollars in bonds for a new water system. A dam is built on Spavinaw Creek, forming a lake. A tunnel is blasted through the hills, and a concrete conduit is built to the city, carrying the water by gravity alone. The water is then impounded in Mohawk and Sequoyah lakes on the northeast of the city. From there, the water is pumped to a high pressure reservoir on summit of Reservoir Hill (Debo 107). 


Tulsa establishes the International Petroleum Exposition, an oil show to be held every ten years in May (Debo 108).


Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation takes over the Cosden Refinery (Debo 99).


It is estimated that more than a milion dollars month is spent on downtown building in Tulsa (Debo 105).

Red Fork is annexed into the city (Debo 108). 

The Tulsa Civic Symphony organizes, giving concerts in the Convention Hall (Debo 110). 


The Tulsa Airport Corporation, a group of city leaders, purchases an airport site and makes improvements (Debo 109). 

W.G. Skelly, founder of Skelly Oil Company and president of the International Petroleum Exposition, organizes Spartan Aircraft Company (Debo 109). 


The city acquires Tulsa Municipal Airport from the Tulsa Airport Corporation (Debo 109).


Skelly Stadium, a gift of W.G. Skelly and other citizens, is built for the use of the University (Debo 108).


Waite Philips and his wife turn their residence at 2727 Rockford Road over to the public (Debo 104). 


The Philbrook Art Center and Indian Museum is opened (Debo 104). 

In July, the Spartan School of Aeronautics begins training flying cadets and mechanics for the United States Army Air Corps (Debo 114). 


The United States government begins construction of a bomber assembly plant on land close to the municipal airport, to be operated by the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica California. (Debo 113). 

In June, the Spartan School of Aeronautics begins training cadets from the Royal Air Force (Debo 114). 

In September, the city is selected as headquarters for the technical training command of the United States Army Air Corps (Debo 113). 


J. Paul Getty of Los Angeles succeeds Skelly as president of the Spartan Company (Debo 114). 


Tulsa: From Creek Town to Oil Capital (1943) by Angie Debo

A Neighborhood History of Tulsa's Owen Park (1998) from Tulsa Preservation Commission

Vertical Files


tulsa vertical files

One of the unique resources in the Research Center's Oklahoma Room is the extensive vertical file collection. The vertical files contain newspaper and magazine articles, brochures, reports, and ephemera for businesses, organizations, homes, buildings, events, and people in the area.

Newspaper articles covering topics of local and regional interest were selectively chosen from Tulsa’s major metropolitan dailies of the twentieth century and deposited in these subject-based vertical files. This is the only major index for the Tulsa Tribune and the Tulsa World between 1923 and 1988.

Vertical file titles can be searched in the online catalog. To limit your search to the vertical files in the new catalog, use the advanced search. In the "use the form below to construct your query" section, use your keyword and the terms "vertical file." To limit your search to the vertical files in the old (legacy) catalog, use the advanced search. Enter your keyword in the "anywhere" field, and choose "vertical file" from the "material type" drop-down box.

For more information on Tulsa newspaper archives, please see the "Obituaries, Death Notices, And Other Article Requests" link at the top of the page. 

We are in the process of adding vertical file content to our Tulsa and Oklahoma History Collection online. Content from the vertical file titles listed below has been added. To find content from a particular file, use the advanced search in the Tulsa and Oklahoma History Digital Collection. Copy and paste the vertical file title in the advanced search box, and select "vertical file title" from the drop-down field menu.

Tulsa Vertical Files Online

Aeronautics Industry - Douglas Bomber Plant

African Americans - Neighborhoods, Housing, and Parks

African Americans - Schools and Education

African Americans Biography A-E

African Americans Biography F-K

African Americans Biography Hill, Rev. Ben

African Americans Biography L-Q

African Americans Biography Lawson, Curtis

African Americans Biography Owens, Charles L.

African Americans Biography McIntyre, Bernard

African Americans Biography R-Z

African Americans Biography Wilson, Wilbert

African Americans - History

Airports - Harvey Young Airport

Airports- Tulsa Municipal Airport

Architecture - Art Deco

Banks - Bank of Oklahoma

Biography - Aa-Ad

Biography - Aaronson, Alfred

Biography - Ae-Ao

Biography - Ap-Az

Biography - B- Ba

Biography - Be

Biography - Bo

Biography - Boorstin, Daniel J

Biography - Border, C.A. 

Biography - Bra

Biography - Bre-Bri

Biography - Bro-Bry

Biography - Bs-Bz

Biography - Ca

Biography - Ce-Ch

Biography - Fr-Fz

Biography - Perryman family

Biography - Sanditen family

Biography - Women, collective


Boys' Home

Buildings - R-S

Cemeteries - Oaklawn

Cemeteries - Tulsa's First

Churches - Christ the King

Churches - Christian Science

Churches - Methodist Church

Clubs - Private

Department stores Froug's

Department stores Renberg's

Department stores Vandevers

Downtown Tulsa Unlimited

Hotels and Motels - A-Z

Indians of North America - Biography


Musicians - Groups

Neighborhoods A-E

Neighborhoods - Greenwood

Neighborhoods - Owen Park

Parks - Owen Park

Parks - River Parks: Pedestrian Bridge

Parks - River Parks: Zink Lake and Low Water Dam

Race Riot

Rogers Port Authority

Schools - Webster High School

Stores, Retail - Otasco

Theaters - Cain's Ballroom

Town Hall

Oklahoma Vertical Files Online

Archaeology - Spiro Mounds

Biography - Mullendore


Dust Bowl

Indians of North America - Osage - allotments

Indians of North America - Osage - biography

Indians of North America - Osage - murders

Motion pictures


Outlaws - Barrow, Clyde and Parker, Bonnie

Outlaws - Daltons and Doolins

Outlaws - Eaton, Frank

Outlaws - Floyd, Charles

Outlaws - Goldsby, Cherokee

Outlaws - Jennings Gang Outlaws - Metcalf, Jennie

Outlaws - P-Z

Outlaws - Reed, Nathaniel

Outlaws - Starr, Belle

Outlaws - Starr, Henry

Outlaws - Wells, Henry

Rogers, Will - Sayings and letters

Vertical File Digitization Request

To request that a vertical file is added to the digitization queue, please email us with the title and specify whether it is a Tulsa or Oklahoma vertical file. 



In the Research Center, yearbooks are actively collected for schools in the City of Tulsa. We do have some random schools in the collection, but they are no longer actively collected. Some of the Library’s other locations collect yearbooks for the schools in their community.

We rely on donations for our school yearbook collection and, for most titles, would like two copies: one for the shelf and one for back-up.

We also have significant, existing yearbook collections for these universities: OU, OSU, ORU, and TU. For the universities, we continue to fill any holes when donations are made and consider a single copy sufficient, though some multiple copies have been collected in the past.