Wanted: Dead or Alive
This photography exhibit features images of some of Oklahoma’s most infamous criminals and will be on display until February 29, 2020.
Images from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections, the National Archives, the vast photographic archives of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and private lenders are included in this exhibit. The 38 black-and-white images on display consist of mugshots, crime scene locations, and group shots with criminals and law enforcement officers. They span more than 70 years, starting before statehood in 1907 and reaching into the late 1950s.
While there may be a few familiar names, such as the Doolin and Dalton Gangs and Ma Barker, the exhibit showcases stories that might not be as well known. Visitors will learn about whiskey towns, the Tulsa Central Park Gang, Spencer State Bank, Wanda Bartram, Ralph Roe, and many more. Many of the people featured were born and raised in Oklahoma or moved here and began their lives of crime. Sometimes the stories are as much about the location as the individual. Although many of the tales feature truly despicable characters, others tell of people who temporarily went astray. Some of the accounts include strange twists and turns, and there is even an unsolved mystery.
Ralph Roe (2012.201.B1138.0281, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS)