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Oklahoma folklore now online, thanks to library project


Emily Jerman October 4th, 2007

The Metropolitan Library System has made 2,500 songs, stories, interviews and more from its Oklahoma Folklore Collection available online this fall. The year-in-the-making effort is part of increa...

The Metropolitan Library System has made 2,500 songs, stories, interviews and more from its Oklahoma Folklore Collection available online this fall.

The year-in-the-making effort is part of increasing access to the library's offerings and beefing up state-history-related collections, according to Research Librarian Larry "Buddy" Johnson, who curates the collection, housed at the Downtown Library.

"This has been in a file cabinet and no one's known about it," he said.

ORIGINS
The collection originated through a library folklore office in the late Forties and early Fifties. "They went out with field recorders and did a letter writing campaign "¦ to get people to pass along information about Oklahoma folkways, stories, songs," Johnson said. "We ended up with, today, a file cabinet full of letters and some handwritten, some typed, and then stories and different printed matter."

Now, thanks to a $60,000 Inasmuch Foundation grant, visitors can search through Microsoft Word versions of documents and scans of originals.

Among those entries? Letters describing everything ranging from how to skin a snake to a tale of a jilted woman who posed as a sharpshooting soldier at Fort Gibson to hunt down her sweetheart.

"We don't usually think of our ancestors as being, you know, that kind of a person, but it's in there," Johnson said. "Emily Jerman

 
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