Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Oklahoma Hall of Fame

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


The Oklahoma Hall of Fame, known from 1971 to 2015 as the Oklahoma Heritage Association, is a nonprofit entity dedicated to preserving Oklahoma's heritage. It is funded primarily by membership contributions, has a statewide membership, and is governed by a board of directors that establishes policies and monitors operations. The heritage group was originally founded as the Oklahoma Memorial Association in 1927 by Anna B. Korn of El Reno. She motivated a number of prominent citizens to meet on September 27, 1927, at the state capital to create the Oklahoma Memorial Association and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. The first Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony took place on November 16, 1928, and has been an annual event since that time.

The organization obtained its first permanent home in 1970 when the family mansion of Judge and Mrs. Robert A. Hefner, Sr., at 201 Northwest Fourteenth and its contents, including priceless antiques and Judge Hefner's cane and bell collections, were donated. In 1971 the Oklahoma Memorial Association, led by full-time volunteer Stanley C. Draper, Sr., changed its name to the Oklahoma Heritage Association. Subsequently, the group expanded its membership, board of directors, and activities.

By the time of his death in 1976 Draper, with the help of outstanding Oklahomans from throughout the state, had built a solid organization, and expansion continued. A publishing program launched in 1976 with The Judge: The Life of Robert A. Hefner, Sr., now includes two hundred books on Oklahoma history, institutions, and native sons and daughters. Book series have included the Oklahoma Trackmaker (biographies), Oklahoma Horizon (institutions), Oklahoma Heritage County History, Oklahoma Voices (autobiographies), and Oklahoma Statesmen (political biographies). The organization also publishes the magazine Oklahoma. In addition, a publically accessible (by appointment) research archive contains files on the inductees of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

In 2001 the association purchased the Midcontinent Life Building at 1400 Classen Drive. In 2007 the high-tech, interactive Gaylord-Pickens Museum opened there. In 2015 the board of directors changed the name Oklahoma Heritage Association to Oklahoma Hall of Fame to better pursue the organization's mission, goals, and activities. The Hall of Fame honors Oklahomans who have given outstanding service to the state during their lifetime and tells their stories through exhibits and experiences at the museum. An education program includes activities for students in grades four through twelve statewide, an annual scholarship program, and the distribution of educational materials for classroom use. The annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame recognition ceremony has remained important, and into the twenty-first century it has been broadcast by the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.

Paul Lambert


"Oklahoma Heritage Association," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

"State Heritage Given Boost," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 24 July 1971.

"State's Party to Recognize Two Pioneers," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 15 November 1928.

Browse By Topic

Arts and Humanities


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Paul Lambert, “Oklahoma Hall of Fame,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=OK054.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.