One of Oklahoma's leading New Dealers, John William Elmer Thomas served as the representative of Oklahoma's Sixth District from 1923-1927 and as a U.S. Senator from 1927-1951. His photograph collection contains black-and-white portraits of the senator and black-and-white prints of him with constituents, other senators, the Oklahoma congressional delegation, and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman. Other images depict congressional tours of Alaska and the northwestern U. S. (1936), U. S. military bases (1939), Mexico, and Europe (1949). There are also photos from Thomas's 1938 senatorial campaign (with appearances made by President Roosevelt). Other photographs include Kentucky pioneer landmarks and the Abraham Lincoln birthplace; Medicine Park, Lake Lawtonka, and Lake Elmer Thomas (all Okla.); and federally funded public works projects. The later includes CWA- and WPA-built roads, sewers, dams and reservoirs, and public buildings in Oklahoma (1933-1941); WPA Oklahoma vocational training program (1941); Depression-era road, dam and reservoir, and Indian reservation projects in California; and miscellaneous western U. S. public works projects, including those at Grand Coulee Dam, in the California Central Valley, on the Colorado River, and for the irrigation system at Altus, Okla. There are also several photographs of the Fort Reno Agricultural Experimental Station (Okla.) from 1932 and 1950. A number of photos exist showing flooding in Tulsa, Bartlesville, and other Oklahoma locations (1923, 1940s). The collection contains a few photos of the Hereford (Texas) Prisoner of War Camp (1947-1948). Several images depict Native Americans, including those showing agricultural extension work (1929-1930), New Deal public works projects, and education (including Pawnee Indian Boarding School, 1930s). The collection contains a few photographs of Jackson Barnett, "the world's richest Indian," and his California home (1920s). There is an item-level inventory for these images. For reproduction fees and guidelines, consult fee guidelines and policies governing the use of photos.
Examples of photos in the Thomas Collection are depicted below. Click on each image to view the full-sized photograph.
Researchers are directed to the Elmer Thomas Collection, which contains the papers of this longtime senator. For more information on the archival holdings, please contact the Carl Albert Center.
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