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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Elmer Peterson, Savoie Lottinville (center), and Paul B. Sears
(2012.201.B1050.0349, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).


Editor and historian Savoie Lottinville was born November 17, 1906, in Hagerman, Idaho, to Walter Jacob and Mary Elizabeth Lottinville, who moved their family to Tulsa when their son was young. He attended public schools in Tulsa and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an English degree. In 1932–33 he worked as a journalist for the Oklahoma City Times. A Rhodes scholar, after three years abroad Lottinville returned to Oklahoma with a master's degree from Oxford University and knowledge gained from interim studies at Bonn, Berlin, and Munich, Germany. In Oklahoma he worked for the University of Oklahoma Press and in 1938 was named press director, succeeding Joseph Brandt, the press's founder. Lottinville also coached the boxing team during his early years at the university.

During his thirty years' tenure as director he brought international recognition and prominence to the University of Oklahoma Press by creating The Civilization of the American Indian Series, The American Exploration and Travel Series, and The Western Frontier Library. Believing that history was for everyone, he encouraged historians and other authors to write in styles readable by most individuals. He was responsible for bringing the Everette L. DeGolyer History of Science and Technology Collection to the university and for securing the location of two U.S. Navy training bases at Norman during the 1940s.

After retiring as press director, Lottinville was appointed Regents History Professor Emeritus and taught historiography; as a teacher he required seven publishable essays from each student every semester, and he edited each student's work. He was a member of the state Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, and his many awards include the Curtis Benjamin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Publishing and induction into the University of Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and in 1999 the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. Southern Methodist University conferred upon him an honorary doctor of letters degree (Litt.D.). He and his first wife, Rita Higgins, had two daughters, Marie Livesey and Dr. Elinor Lottinville-Enlow. Rita preceded him in death, as did his second wife, Helene Carpenter. Historians consider his book The Rhetoric of History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978) to be a classic. He edited other books, including Life of George Bent: Written from His Letters, by George E. Hyde (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968) and A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory During the Year 1819, by Thomas Nuttall (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). He also contributed articles to numerous popular and scholarly journals. Savoie Lottinville died January 20, 1997, in Oklahoma City.

Guy Logsdon


Bob L. Blackburn, "Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame–Savoie Lottinville," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 77 (Fall 1999).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 22 January 1997. Norman (Oklahoma) Transcript, 21 January 1997.

Mary Jane Fulkerson and Jack Hoops, eds., Who's Who in Oklahoma (Muskogee, Okla.: Hoffman Printing Co., 1964).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Guy Logsdon, “Lottinville, Savoie,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=LO016.

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