May 14, 2015
2015 Oklahoma History Conference a Success
Oklahoma City, Okla. — The 2015 Oklahoma History Conference, sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society, was a sellout, according to Charles Tate, chair of the planning committee for the conference. The conference was held at the Artesian Hotel in Sulphur on April 22, 23 and 24. The Chickasaw Nation was the Presenting Sponsor for the event.
In addition to the Artesian Hotel, conference events were staged at the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center and the Chickasaw Cultural Center. 18 presentation sessions on topics relating to the conference theme, "Land, Wood, and Water: Natural Resources in the Course of Oklahoma History," were held over a two-day period as well as a bus tour, a concert, reception and two luncheons.
Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby was the keynote speaker for the conference, making his presentation during the Annual Conference Luncheon on April 23. The Annual Awards Luncheon was held on April 24, during which four individuals were inducted into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. The honorees were Sally Bourne Ferrell, Chandler; Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Las Vegas, Nevada; Edwin C. McReynolds, deceased and John Wooley, Foyil.
A variety of other individuals and organizations were recognized during the Annual Awards Luncheon for outstanding work on behalf of Oklahoma history. Tracey Hanshew of Stillwater and Alvin O. Turner of Norman each received Muriel H. Wright Awards for outstanding articles published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma in 2014. Hanshew's article was titled "Rodeo in Oklahoma is Women's Business: How Lucille Mulhall's Fame Created Opportunity in Rodeo." Turner was recognized for his article "The Dust Bowl: The Blame Game, the Facts, the Problem that Remains."
Charlotte Bailey and Evelyn Culver of Oklahoma City's Classen School of Advanced Studies each received Joseph B. Thoburn Student Historian Awards for their documentary project titled "Through the Eyes of Elephants" that earned them first place at the state level as eighth grade students in the 2014 Oklahoma History Day competition. LaRadius Allen Stephens, an Oklahoma history and American history teacher at Classen SAS, received the William D. Pennington Outstanding Oklahoma History Teacher Award.
Other individual award recipients included Jennifer M. Frazee of Tahlequah and Northeastern State University, who was recognized for producing the outstanding MA degree thesis approved in 2014. It was titled "A Mansion at the Athens of Indian Territory: Hunter's Home, 1845–1991." Michael J. Hightower, Oklahoma City, was honored as the author of the Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History published in 2014, Banking in Oklahoma, 1907–2000. The University of Oklahoma Press was recognized as the publisher of Hightower's book.
Two organizations also were recognized. The Friends of Fort Washita, Inc. was honored as the Outstanding Local OHS Support Group, and the Chickasaw Cultural Center was recognized at the Outstanding Regional Historical Complex.
Conference activities were concluded with a book signing featuring authors Wiley Barnes, Larry Floyd, Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Kent Frates, Joshua Hinson, Davis Joyce, Michael Lovegrove, Phillip Morgan, Vicki Penner, Rebecca Travis, Bill Welge and John Wooley.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS visit www.okhistory.org.