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.
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