Aunt Susan’s Recipe Books

November 17th, 2009

recipebooks2.jpgby Jill Holt, Curator of Textiles

Thanks to our assistant director, Jeff Briley, we have a recent addition to our collection. He picked up several recipe books written by Aunt Susan. Some of you may remember Aunt Susan from her food columns in the Daily Oklahoman and her cooking program on WKY Radio in Oklahoma City. Edna Vance Adams served as food editor of the Daily Oklahoman from 1929 to 1943. She conducted an annual cooking school during that time and her recipe books were souvenirs given out at the school. Aunt Susan’s recipes were clipped from the newspaper and became cherished favorites in the recipe boxes across Oklahoma, with many people mistakenly believing that there really was an “Aunt Susan” somewhere in their family tree.

Edna Vance Adams moved to New York in 1943 and eventually became the food editor for McCall’s Magazine. She left McCall’s to focus on radio and television programs. In 1951, she published a cook book titled “Susan Adam’s How-to-Cook Book.” We are fortunate to now have one of the rare copies of this book in our collection.

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The Von Keller Coverlet

October 20th, 2009

by Sherry Massey, Senior Registrar

coverlet1.jpgThe Oklahoma Museum of History has recently acquired a remarkably unique quilt.

The Von Keller Coverlet, as it is lovingly referred to by the donor, Ellen Jonsson, came to her in a family lottery. She “drew the long straw” and the quilt became hers.

The story goes something like this: Dr. Frederick Von Keller moved to Ardmore, Indian Territory, from Vernon, Texas, in 1894. There he opened the community’s first hospital, the Ardmore Sanitarium, in 1901. After that building was destroyed in an explosion, he opened the new Von Keller Hospital in 1917. The Von Kellers had two children and one of the daughters, Beatrice, was one of the earliest female graduates of OU. Beatrice married and had children. At some point, family legend says, Dr. Von Keller accepted the quilt in payment of medical services.

Ms. Jonsson married one of Beatrice’s sons. She tells us, “About 30 years ago, Elaine, Katherine and I were at Grandmother Bea’s home. She was in her seventies at the time. She told us that we were going to have a lottery. We wondered what on earth she had in mind. She came back from the kitchen with three straws concealed in her hand. She said the person drawing the longest straw was going to get something. I drew the longest straw and the ‘something’ was the coverlet. I have always thought that she manipulated the outcome because she knew that I would take care of it and ensure that moths didn’t get to it, that it wasn’t left out or carelessly handled.” We’re so glad Grandmother Bea rigged the lottery!

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As you can see from the photos, the quilt is a combination fan block/crazy quilt design. The fans alternate direction every other block and are constructed in typical crazy quilt fashion with the pieces appliquéd to a base block. Floral crewel embroidery embellishes the background above each fan with the exception of a swan on one block and the words “Fancy Work” on another. The embroidery is excellent with even stitching and texture. The foundation squares are of striped shirting. The fan blades are made from fabric typically used in suits, dresses and shirts with some satins and wools. Each fan point is velvet. There is no batting or backing; however, there is a binding made from one of the suiting fabrics. Because there is no batting or traditional backing, ‘coverlet’ may be the more appropriate term, after all. The maker did not sign or date the piece. An appraisal has dated it at 1885-1899. It is in remarkably good condition, with no major damage.

This is just one of the many fine quilts entrusted to the care of the Oklahoma Historical Society. We will continue to highlight them in future blogs, so check back often!

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Ned Hockman Collection

October 14th, 2009

by Scott Clink, Research Division Volunteer

The Ned Hockman Collection [2009.100] is one of great fascination, spanning four decades and numerous pursuits of this notable Oklahoma filmmaker. The materials include film scripts, correspondence regarding filmmaking, and teaching materials from Hockman’s tenure as a professor in the University of Oklahoma’s Journalism/Motion Picture Production program.

Ned Hockman was always interested in communication. During his term as a student at the University of Oklahoma, he worked as an announcer and writer for the OU educational radio station WNAD. During World War II, Hockman received motion picture production training with the Air Corp at the Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood, California, under the tutelage of Frank Lloyd and William Keeley. He served as a service correspondent with the Air Corp in India, Burma, and China. He filmed the first B-29 raid in that region and was with the Wingate-Cochran glider invasion of Burma filming combat motion picture coverage. When World War II ended Hockman returned to the University of Oklahoma and established the Motion Picture Production program. When the Korean War broke out, Hockman was recalled to duty on February 15, 1951, by the Air Force. He was an officer in charge for the Korean detachment of the second photographic squadron. His responsibilities were to write scripts, take motion pictures, and shoot still photo coverage of Air Force activities. His stint covered action on the ground and in the air. He covered the Peace Conference, air attacks, ground support and rescue missions behind enemy lines. These films were used for staff reports, information, and educational services.

In July of 1952, Hockman returned to the United States where he edited and produced three films for the Air Force in Washington D.C. before being released from duty on August 31, 1952. On September 1, 1952, Hockman returned to his position as Supervisor of Motion Picture Productions at the University of Oklahoma where he covered all the “Big Red” football games, and where he became the director and cinematographer of the nationally televised Bud Wilkinson sport shows, “Inside Sports,” “Inside Football,” and “Inside Basketball.” At that same time he began to teach film production and provide contract work through the University for companies such as the Lowe Runkle Company. From 1949 to 1987, Hockman taught film direction, script writing, and other journalism courses.

Hockman worked as a producer, director, cameraman, and film editor for over 200 non-theatrical motion pictures. In 1962, he worked as a director/editor and co-producer for the theatrical film “Stark Fear” starring Beverly Garland. Recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, he was given an award for his contributions to film and photography in 1971. Hockman understood filming and was a delegate to the Cannes Film Festival and other important film festivals held in Mannheim, Germany, Warsaw, Poland and at Berkley, California.

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Why I Love My Job: The Very Interesting Dayton Canady Collection

September 29th, 2009

11746.jpgby Beverly Mosman, Assistant Photo Archivist

The first image to catch my eye in the Dayton Canady Collection was #11746 (left). I stared at the image intently, looking for clues as to who these people were. Why were they doing gymnastics in what appeared to be a dormitory?

I looked farther back into the collection and learned that these men were probably Oklahoma City Firemen. The Dayton Canady Collection starts with image #11707 which shows off the Fire Department’s Horse Drawn Equipment in front of the Santa Fe Depot during a parade in the early 1900’s. Even though these are interesting images, the story of the “acrobats” starts with image #11741. Men are sleeping peacefully. The uniforms do not look familiar, but the boots remind me of the “jump-in” boots I’ve seen while touring fire stations with my children. I continue searching for more clues through the next few images until I come to image #11744 which shows the men jumping into their boots and one man who is already dressed is sliding down….a fireman’s pole! So yes, these men appear to be firemen.

The acrobats start with image #11745 and by #11747 I’m wondering, “Is this training? Exercise? Practice for a charity event? My curiosity is tingling. Image #11755 shows men hanging from a wire like laundry from a clothesline. How do I label these images? After asking others in our area about the images, I describe them as best I can and hope that someone may have answers to share with us.

A few months after I had processed these images, Jan Davis from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries asked some of us if we’d ran into any interesting photos in the collections. A co-worker and I immediately thought about the acrobats and mentioned them. When Jan saw the photos, she thought they would be great for ODL ARCHIVES WEEK. So we started to search for more information.

The first information I found showed that Dayton W. Canady of Missouri had donated the collection in June of 1968. The images are identified as “Oklahoma City Fire Department”. I remembered that I have seen a Firefighters Museum in OKC. Phone calls and emails began to fly as we began to work together to track down the story. Finally, Jan received this reply:

“In 1908 Oklahoma City Fire Department (OCFD) hired a young 24 year old named John J. Lynn… John was hired because he was with a circus and in show business as a horse trainer… Since the OCFD had started using horse to pull their fire equipment they needed firefighters that had skills working with horses… John Lynn had friends in the circus that he talked into joining the OCFD… These Circus performers would practice their acrobatic techniques on top of the fire station while they were on duty…

Later, the OCFD hired the Oklahoma City University baseball team… The fire department sought out athletic people like this because firefighters have to be in great shape to fight fires for hours and hours…

Mike Billingsley, Manager
Oklahoma State Firefighters
Museum & Gift Shop
2716 N.E. 50th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73111

So, that’s “The Rest of the Story” about the IMAGES OF OKLAHOMA Archives Week poster. You may check their website www.odl.state.ok.us/archives-week to find out more or see all of the Dayton Canady images in the archives section of the OHS online catalog. Enter “Canady” as a keyword.

Laundry Blues

September 9th, 2009

by Jill Holt, Curator of Textiles

In this era of high efficiency washers and dryers with their steam features and easy care fabrics, many people no longer feel the need to iron their clothes. While I am not old enough to remember the days of washtubs, washboards, wringers, and sad irons, I do remember when my mother did the weekly ironing. After bringing the clean clothes in from the clothesline, she would sprinkle them down with water using a bottle with a tin sprinkler stopper. She then rolled the damp clothes in a towel in preparation to be ironed the next day. It would take several hours to press the shirts, dresses, sheets and pillowcases. With the introduction of permanent press fabrics in the 1960s, she put away her iron and warned the family that she would no longer press any garments. And she didn’t! After she passed away, I found a cotton dress shirt of my father’s in the bottom of the laundry hamper, still waiting to be ironed after 30 years!


In our collections, we have a clothespin bag, sprinkler bottle, electric iron, and laundry hamper. All are reminders of a time when laundry was a much more demanding task.

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Historic Maps

September 1st, 2009

by Chad Williams, Research Division Deputy Director

Hello fellow history fanatics. My name is Chad Williams. I am the Deputy Director of the Research Division. One of our new and exciting projects is to scan the map collection held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The collection is composed of thousands of maps from Indian Territory and Railroad maps to Town Plats and Oilfield maps. Because of the talent and dedication of our scanning guru Ashley Hendricks, we have scanned and placed online over 800 map images. The coolest part of this project is that we decided to scan the maps at a high resolution. After you allow a minute or so for your computer to open the PDF file, you are free to zoom in and out and see the incredible detail preserved in these historic maps. I guarantee you will love it.

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One of the maps (my personal favorite) we discovered while undertaking the project is the map we call “The Raymer Map.” This hand drawn map was crafted by Oklahoman Lester Raymer of Alva. In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution, who commissioned the work, donated the map to the Oklahoma Historical Society. On the map Raymer estimated the location of many historic sites, battles, roadways, and exploration routes. Another cool thing about the map is that it was donated along with a painting by Mrs. Louise Fluke. That painting would be used to design the state flag of Oklahoma (below is the description of the two donations).

At a meeting of representatives of the Oklahoma Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Historical Building on May 10, Mrs. Frank Gordon Munson, Alva, state historian of the D. A. R., told members about the celebration being planned to commemorate Coronado’s passing through Oklahoma. On behalf of the state society she presented to the Oklahoma Historical Society the following: A frame containing the Oklahoma state flag painted and described by Mrs. Louise F. Fluke of Ponca City; a historical map of Oklahoma drawn by Lester W. Raymer of Alva, and a frame enclosing the object, creed, pledge, and belief of the National Society of the D. A. R., prepared by Mrs. Fluke.

- The Chronicles of Oklahoma Volume 17, No. 3 September, 1939

It has been a challenge and a great honor to preserve, catalog and scan these wonderful maps. But that is what we do here at the History Center (the Mother Ship of Oklahoma History).

Click here for order info. You can also come to the History Center and purchase the map and save the shipping charge. Just walk into the History Center off 23rd and Lincoln Blvd. and ask to see the Research Center.

Cherokee National Records Colored High School

August 25th, 2009

by William D. Welge, Research Division Director

Among the Cherokee National records will be files relative to the Female, Male, and Colored High School. Featured here is a document taken from the Colored High School (as it was designated by the National Council). This report contains a brief record of employee’s for the month of October 1904. It is presumed that all seven listed here were African-American’s working at the school. The files contain mostly receipts for expenditures for the operations of the school. The earliest document dates from 1889 and ceases in 1906. The school was located five miles northwest of Tahlequah on the old Double Spring’s place. Sadly, there are no lists of students contained in the file.

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Tintypes: 19th Century to the Present

August 13th, 2009

by Beverly Mosman, Assistant Photo Archivist

The last photographic method for mirror and unique images was patented in 1856 by Hamilton L. Smith, a chemistry and physics professor at Kenyon College in Ohio. Originally known as “melainotype” or “ferrotype” these images are more commonly called tintypes. Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye to Analog

August 4th, 2009

by Jill Holt, Curator of Textiles

Television was first introduced to the American public in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair. For seventy years, television was broadcast in analog format. On June 12, 2009, the broadcast signal was converted to digital format. Older analog televisions have been rendered unable to receive signals unless they have a digital converter box or a cable or satellite connection. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Dragon Robe

July 15th, 2009

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by Mary Lee, Assistant Registrar

I love Chinese Dragon Robes. Combining the inherent coolness of dragons with rich color, exquisite detail and an excess of symbolism, they present a visual overload that always attracts my attention. Working at the Oklahoma History Center I never expected to find a dragon robe in our textile collection. I was so excited by the chance to physically examine this robe that I lost control and my obsessive tendencies overwhelmed me, resulting in more information and photographs than needed for a normal blog entry. Acknowledging that everyone does not share my fascination with dragon robes, I have omitted the section where I counted all of the stitches in the dragon’s scales and told the origin of every symbol on the robe. I hope you appreciate this concession and are not afraid to continue reading. Read the rest of this entry »