Biographical Sketch of the Creator of the Collection
William Grady Stigler, a quarter-blood Choctaw Indian, was born in Newman, Indian Territory (now Stigler, Oklahoma), on July 7, 1891. He received a teaching certificate from Northeastern Oklahoma State College (Tahlequah) in 1912 and legal education from the University of Oklahoma. During World War I, he served in the U.S. Army; afterward, he attended the University of Grenoble (Grenoble, France).
Stigler was admitted to the Oklahoma state bar and practiced law for several years. He served in various political and legal positions: city attorney of Stigler (1920-1924), state senator for the twenty-seventh district (1924-1932) and president pro tempore in 1931, member of the state Pardon and Parole Advisory Board, and attorney for the Choctaw Nation.
In March 1944, Stigler, a Democrat, was elected to represent Oklahoma's Second District in the U.S. Congress, filling the seat vacated by John C. "Jack" Nichols. He served on several standing committees in the House, including Claims, Flood Control, Indian Affairs, Roads, World War Veterans' Legislation, Public Works, and Appropriations. In 1946, he was also a member of the Select Committee to Investigate Supplies and Shortages of Food, Particularly Meat. Stigler served in Congress until his death on August 22, 1952, at Stigler, Oklahoma.
Scope and Content of the Collection
The Stigler Collection contains slightly more than 12 cubic feet of material covering the dates 1934-1952. Most of these items were generated during the congressional years, and there is little documenting the congressman's legal and state political careers or his personal life. While this collection reflects Stigler's interests in agriculture and flood control in Oklahoma, there is a significant amount of material on his concern with legislation affecting Indians not only in Oklahoma but also in other parts of the country. There are four major series: Legislative, Subject, Indian Affairs, and Maps and included is also a small photograph collection
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following is a detailed listing of series, boxes, folders, and documents that can be found in this collection.
Series 1: Legislative, 1944-1952
This series spans the entire period of Stigler's congressional career, contains 3.3 cubic feet of documents, and is divided into two subseries. The general subseries contains bills introduced by Stigler and others, correspondence, clippings, speeches by Stigler and others, pamphlets, copies of the Congressional Record, and Stigler's voting record for the 78th to 81st Congresses. Many of Stigler's bills cover Indian topics; there are also several privates bills. These files are arranged by Congress. The committee subseries is comprised of correspondence, committee reports, pamphlets, brochures, bills, clippings, and hearing transcripts. Committees that are best represented are Appropriations (especially work concerning the Agriculture Department, 1949-1952), Flood Control (primarily Oklahoma projects), and Veterans Affairs. These files are arranged alphabetically by committee.
Series 2: Subject, 1944-1952
This series contains 1.4 cubic feet of material and is organized alphabetically. Documents include correspondence, telegrams, clippings, speeches, publications, and pamphlets. Also here are Stigler's newsletters to constituents, titled "Congress and You," for 1945-1949. Among the topics are Korean War casualties, 1950-1951 redistricting in Oklahoma, congressional colleagues, the Democratic Party, and Camp Gruber.
Series 3: Indian Affairs, 1934-1952
This series consists of 7.3 cubic feet of material and contains correspondence, memos, clippings, publications, statements, lists, speeches, reports, and bills. The documents date from 1934 to 1952, but the majority fall between 1944 and 1952. Earlier items are mainly reference materials. There are three subseries-legislative, tribal and general, and claims. The legislative subseries concerns passage of legislation affecting Indians in Oklahoma and other parts of the country; topics include Choctaw/Chickasaw land sale, emancipation of Indians; the Five Civilized Tribe, and the Indian Claims Commission. Some materials duplicate those found in the legislative series. The tribal and general subseries contains information gathered on various tribes; headings include Five Civilized Tribes and Indian Claims Commission. The claims subseries documents individual cases before various agencies in which Stigler interceded. Files in all three subseries are arranged alphabetically.
Series 4: Maps, 1938-1952
There are 33 maps, primarily concerned with Indians, redistricting, and water projects, in this collection.
A folder-level inventory can be accessed through the box list below.
For more information on the archival holdings, please contact the Carl Albert Center.