NORMAN—The University of Oklahoma recently acquired the George and Cecilia McGhee Collection from the McGhee Foundation of Middleburg Virginia. The collection includes many rare items collected during the McGhees’ extensive travels as well as their personal correspondence and photographs. The items will become a part of University Libraries permanent collections and are housed in the Western History Collections, History of Science Collections and the Youngblood Energy Library.
Ambassador McGhee from Waco, Texas was a 1933 graduate of OU and Rhodes Scholar. His wife Cecilia was the daughter of OU graduate and legendary geologist and oilman Everette DeGolyer. McGhee, a geologist and oilman with a long career in the State Department, served as ambassador to Turkey under President Truman and ambassador to West Germany under President Kennedy. The University of Oklahoma Libraries received McGhee's personal correspondence during part of his State Department Career.
McGhee’s career with the U.S. State Department gave him the opportunity to collect rocks and minerals from around the world, a passion that began when he was a child in Waco, Texas and continued while studying geology at OU. The minerals he collected as well as sea shells collected by Cecilia McGhee will be valuable research specimens for students using the Youngblood Energy Library.
The gift also includes many artifacts the McGhee’s collected during their travels. These include Chinese and Japanese artifacts, 12th century turquoise glazed Syrian pottery, 15th century Islamic tile art, 4th century Roman pottery, and a large collection of Mesoamerican artifacts that were collected by his father-in-law in Mexico.
Curator of the Western History Collections, John Lovett, notes “This is a unique collections that provides material that will help University Libraries support several areas of research, including geology, anthropology, political science, history and fine arts. We were fortunate to receive this collection.”
Currently a preview exhibit of the McGhee Collection is on display in the Western History Collections reading room. For more information, please call (405)325-3641.
Read more about this collection:
"Ancient Artifacts, Fossils Donated to the University of Oklahoma" by Kathryn McNutt, The Oklahoman (June 8, 2014)