Founded in 1890 as the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, the institution acquired its first library volume in 1893. Modest purchases in support of the curriculum and faculty research, primarily in the area of agriculture, continued into the late 1920s. Between 1928 and 1933, the College Library acquired its first rare volumes through the Grolier Society. Much controversy at the then-small land grant college surrounded these purchases, which included Holinshed's Chronicles and Audubon's Quadrupeds, and no additional items were added until Otto M. Forkert's collection of materials on typography and printing were acquired through a gift/purchase arrangement in 1951. Among the 103 volumes in that collection was a replica two-volume Gutenberg Bible issued as number 43 of a run of 300 sets in Leipzig in 1914. In 1966, the gift of former Oklahoma governor Henry S. Johnston's papers, personal library, and law office was received by the Oklahoma State University Library. This became the first of a number of political collections given to the library that include the papers of former Oklahoma governor and United States Senator Henry Bellmon, United States Senator Don Nickles, and former state representative Hannah D. Atkins, the first African-American woman elected to statewide office in Oklahoma in 1968. In addition to collections documenting Oklahoma history and politics, collecting efforts have focused on Oklahoma natural resources; Oklahoma women; the portrayal of the American West in film, theater, and circuses; and folk music of the southern plains. Shortly after the formal establishment of a Department of Special Collections and University Archives in the library in 1988, the library received the papers of historian and social activist Dr. Angie Debo, a preeminent scholar of American Indian history. Other significant collections include the personal and professional papers of Gannett CEO and AP President Paul Miller and (in process) noted businessman and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens.
Oklahoma State University Library
Department of Special Collections & University Archives
Edmon Low Library
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-1071
(405) 744-6311 (t)
(405) 744-7579 (f)