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Political Collections

The following collections are made up of primary source materials created by state-level politicians, journalists, and political organizations. These collections contain manuscript materials, correspondence, legislative documents, photographs, etc. 

A brief outline of each collection can be found below as well as a link to a more detailed description of the collection and its contents.

All of the materials are free and open to the public for use - any time-based restrictions are listed below.

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Birth-Death: 1935-2005

Collection Coverage: 1977-1990

Jim Barker first entered politics in 1969, upon his election to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After serving only one term, he then returned to represent his district from 1977 through 1990. In 1983, he was elected speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He is the only state representative to serve as Speaker of that institution four separate times.

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Collection Coverage: 1978-2005

LeEarl Ann Bryant was the Democratic candidate for the 26th Congressional District in Texas in 1994. The seat was then held by Representative Dick Armey. Although she won the Democratic nomination, Ms. Bryant was defeated in the general election, garnering 22% of the votes. She was a registered professional engineer, the first woman president of Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a prominent Texas businesswoman.

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Collection Coverage: 1981-1995

The Congressional Sunbelt Caucus (CSC) was formed in 1981 as a bipartisan coalition of U.S. House of Representative members from Southern and Southwestern states. Initially called the Congressional Sunbelt Council, this Legislative Service Organization (LSO) later changed its name to the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus. In 1993, senators were formally invited to join the Caucus, making it bicameral. Caucus members represented the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Birth-Death: 1922-2011

Collection Coverage: 1946-1995

Allan Cromley had a long and distinguished career in journalism. In 1950, he joined the staff of the Daily Oklahoman. Three years later, he moved to the Oklahoman's bureau in Washington, D.C. In the nation's capital, he focused his writing on the Oklahoma congressional delegation. Active in many professional organizations, he served as the president of the National Press Club and as president, treasurer, and secretary of the Washington Gridiron Club. Cromley retired from the paper in early 1996.

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Birth-Death: 1922-2005

Collection Coverage: 1906-1991

Harry Culver joined United Press International in 1950 and served as a political and government reporter covering Oklahoma politics. In 1984, he retired from the wire service and became the public information officer for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance. He worked for this office ten years. The recipient of numerous awards, Culver was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1979 and received the Society of Professional Journalists Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He died on February 13, 2005, in Oklahoma City.

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Birth-Death: 1930-2017

Collection Coverate: 1932-2017

Ross Warren Cummings began his career as a journalist in 1949 as a radio announcer for WBBZ in Ponca City, Oklahoma, his hometown. He served twice more in news media, becoming a reporter and editor for The Holdenville Daily News in 1950 and a television news reporter and weekend anchor for WKY (now KFOR). Cummings was then chosen by Kerr-McGee Corporation as in 1956 their first Director of Public Relations. Cummings held this position until 1960 after which he left the company to found the full-service communications firm Ross Cummings and Company. His work with the company led Cummings oversee public relations and communications for many political campaigns and entities including Fred Harris’ 1964 Senate Campaign and 1966 re-election campaign, the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., Representative Glenn English, Lieutenant Governor and State Treasurer of Oklahoma Leo Winters, and many State Questions. 

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Collection Coverage: 1960-1976

The Verneil English collection consists of a variety of materials that she collected as Carl Albert's executive assistant. The collection includes internal memos, invitations to prominent events on Capitol Hill, legislative reference material, and various personal materials related to Carl Albert and English. One of the strongest series is the Queen's Visit and Luncheon, which contains a large amount of information about Queen Elizabeth's visit to the United States in celebration of the Bicentennial and all of the behind-the-scenes organization required to facilitate those events. 

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This collection consists of 3 interviews with Carl Albert. The recordings date from 1972 to 1976, when Foote served as press secretary to Albert. They include commentary by Albert on a range of issues, including the resignation of Vice President Agnew, the Watergate scandal, and the speaker's family background.

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Birth-Death: 1946-2007

Collection Coverage: 1960-1989

Danney Goble was a gifted historian who taught at Tulsa Junior College, Rogers University, the University of Tulsa, and the University of Oklahoma. He authored or co-authored eight books, including biographical works on Carl Albert and Ada Lois Fisher. This collection consists of research materials collected by Goble.

The Danney Goble Collection is currently closed.

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Birth-Death: 1916-1987

Collection Coverage: 1960-1978

Bryce N. Harlow had a long and distinguished career in the political sphere including serving on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s White House staff in a variety of positions, such as administrative assistant to the president, special assistant to the president, and deputy assistant to the president for congressional affairs (1953-1960). In 1961, Harlow established Procter & Gamble's first office in Washington, D.C. and represented the company for seventeen years.

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Collection Coverage: 1896-2008

This collection encompasses a variety of political ephemera from throughout Oklahoma’s history. It's core consists of 37 buttons and pins donated by James O. Hood III, mostly from presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns dating from the turn of the century to 1980. The rarest items date from the inauguration of Oklahoma's first governor in 1907 and the failed convention to create a state called Sequoyah in eastern Oklahoma in 1896.

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Birth-Death: 1931-2011

Collection Coverage: 1964

Before becoming President of California State University in Long Beach and a Republican Congressman, John Stephen “Steve” Horn worked as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel. In that role, he took notes on the meetings of a bipartisan Senate group working for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This collection consists of those notes.

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Birth-Death: 1940-

Collection Coverage: 1970s-1990s

Stephen Jones is a prominent attorney and Republican activist from Enid, Oklahoma. He has served as defense attorney for several controversial figures, including Timothy McVeigh. This collection consists of papers related to Jones’ work with the republican party and his political campaigns.

The Stephen Jones Collection is currently closed.

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Collection Coverage: 1975-2012

Edwin Kessler served as the first director of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. He has also helped lead the political organization Common Cause in the state. This collection consists of materials related to that group's work on urban planning and environmental issues.

The Edwin Kessler Collection is currently closed.

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Collection Coverage: 1920s-1980s

Historian Richard N. Lowitt is known for his three- volume biography of George Norris, the Nebraska representative and senator credited with creating the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This collection contains materials related to the TVA from the original Muscle Shoals controversy of the 1920s through the construction of the TVA and its work in the 1980s.

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Collection Coverage: 1967-1968

A native Oklahoman of Choctaw ancestry, John Martin Meek was one of the most successful public relations counselors in the Washington, D.C., area from 1969 to his relocation to Arizona in 1999. As the chief liaison between the DNC and all Democratic members of Congress during the 1960s, he was involved in numerous activities related to the day-to-day operations of congressional offices. He became coordinator for the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago.

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Collection Coverage: 1964-1972

An Oklahoma newspaperman, Jim Monroe served as the press secretary and administrative assistant to Senator Fred R. Harris. Following his work with Harris, Monroe held an interest in newspapers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. In 1996, he was named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

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Collection Coverage: 1976-1992

The Oklahoma Constitution Revision Study Commission was formed in September of 1988 by Governor Henry Bellmon and Attorney General Robert Henry. In an attempt to update what many saw as an outdated and unworkable state constitution, the privately funded commission strove both to shorten and to modernize the document.

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Collection Coverage: 1950-1985

This collection documents the activities of the Oklahoma Republican Party from 1960 to 1983. The greater part of this collection are financial files consisting of 1,241 folders, 29 small boxes of contribution cars and 10 large flat boxes of financial ledger journals and voting statistics. These materials range in date from 1958 to 1981 and include, but are not limited to, fundraising and contribution files, donation forms, bank account files, receipts, and audit reports. The collection also includes over 1,700 folders of institutional files which include general office files and research files on candidates and voter issues.

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Birth-Death: 1913-2003

Collection Coverage: 1927-2003

Born in Hartshorne, Oklahoma, on October 3, 1913, Julian J. Rothbaum was the son of a general store owner. He attended the University of Oklahoma from 1932-1936, was president of the student body during his senior year and graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1938. Throughout his life, Mr. Rothbaum actively supported education in the state of Oklahoma and established student awards in honor of Carl Albert at the University of Oklahoma and McAlester High School as well as the Carl Albert Prize at St. Peters College, Oxford University.

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Birth-Death: 1908-1988

Collection Coverage: 1953-1966

Born in Rogers County, Oklahoma, in 1908, Beth Campbell Short was a journalist and press secretary. Following her graduation from the University of Oklahoma, she served as a reporter for the Springfield (Missouri) Leader and the Daily Oklahoman before joining the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. Shortly after her husband's sudden death in 1952, Truman appointed Mrs. Short as his correspondence secretary. In 1957 she became press secretary to U.S. Senator A. S. Mike Monroney.

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Birth-Death: 1908-1996

Collection Coverage: 1948-1963

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.

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Collection Coverage:1964-2009

Paula Unruh, a longtime Republican Party activist, promoted GOP candidates for over fifty years. Especially active in the Tulsa area, she also served as the campaign coordinator for Arkansas Governor Frank White in the 1980s. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Unruh attended the University of Arkansas and the University of Tulsa. Her work in politics included serving as a staff member for Representative Page H. Belcher, the veteran Oklahoma congressman from the First District, in the 1950s. She also worked for the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce in the 1980s. She also served as chairwoman for the Republican Party in Oklahoma from 1975 to 1977.

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Collection Coverage: 1976

5 strips of negatives and a single black and white photograph of the 1976 Bicentennial opening ceremonies. The snapshots are candid in nature and supply a behind-the-scenes view of the events.

Explore the William Wilson Collection