Biographical Sketch of the Creator of the Collection
Reared in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, Malvina Stephenson received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 1936. That same year she became a feature writer for the Tulsa World, thus establishing a journalistic relationship that extended over fifty years. In 1940, she moved to Washington, D.C., and started an independent news bureau. During the next decade, she worked in various jobs covering the nation's capital. In 1951, she became the press secretary to Senator Robert S. Kerr and held the position until his death in 1963. Stephenson then reestablished herself as a free lance writer. She also began to contribute stories to the Tulsa World again. In 1990, following the nomination of the entire Oklahoma congressional delegation, she was named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Stephenson died in 1996.
Scope and Content of the Collection
Consisting of eight cubic feet of material, the Stephenson collection includes letters, clippings, speeches, newsletters, and press files. This material mainly concerns her work with Kerr and her research for a biography she intended to write on the senator. As a result, the subjects covered in the collection reflect the interests of Senator Kerr. Topics include water resource development, natural resource conservation, agriculture, petroleum industry and trade, education, and electric power. There are also photographs and scrapbooks, including one scrapbook on Kerr's early work with the U.S. space program as well as one devoted to the senator's book, Land, Wood, and Water. For additional materials either written or collected by Stephenson, researchers are directed to the manuscript collection held by the Herbert-Priestley Resources Center in the college of journalism at the University of Oklahoma.
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