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Western History Collections: Manuscripts

Manuscript Collections

Cursive handwriting in a translated letter by Pierre Chouteau

The Western History Collections holds over 2,000 collections of primary textual materials (manuscripts) on Oklahoma and the American West. These include diaries and journals, personal and official correspondence, literary manuscripts, business records, and scrapbooks. Among the subjects covered are Native American tribes headquartered in Oklahoma, pioneer and frontier life, missionary activities in Indian Territory, cowboys and the range cattle industry, Oklahoma's petroleum industry, and the history of railroads and transportation in the West.

View our manuscript collection finding aids
View our Guide to Manuscript Collections
View our digitized manuscript collections
Ask a question about our manuscript collections
View policies and copy fees

How to Find Manuscript Collections

The finding aids for the manuscript collections are in ArchivesSpace. It is possible to search for specific collections, or to enter a keyword in the search box. Follow these steps to search by keyword:

  • Enter keyword in the search box
  • The list of results will include names of collections as well as subject terms:
    • It will be most useful to limit the results by collection. Under "Additional Filters," select "Collection" under "Type".
  • Click on a collection title to see the scope and inventory of the collection
  • Click on "Print" to generate an easily-readable PDF finding aid
  • Once you determine which collection materials you need, you will need to provide a collection name and box number

To find manuscript collections through the library's online catalog:

Our manuscript collections are also listed in the national database WorldCat.

Most manuscript collections are described in our published Guide to Manuscripts in the Western History Collections of the University of Oklahoma. It is also available on site in our library.

Diplomatic Archive

The Diplomatic Archive collections focus on the official declassified and personal papers, books, photographs, and memorabilia of former U.S. ambassadors and other presidential appointees who have ties to Oklahoma. This archive is one of only a handful of institutions in the United States other than the presidential libraries and the National Archives that house diplomatic papers and collections. The collections include the papers of Everett F. Drumright, Edward J. Perkins, and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, among others.