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Western History Collections

WHC reading room

The Western History Collections is a special research collection within the University of Oklahoma Libraries system. Its purpose is to enhance the University Libraries general collection on the history of the American West; to support the research and teaching programs of the University of Oklahoma; and to provide opportunities for research through the acquisition, preservation, and access of materials relating to the development of the Trans-Mississippi West and Native American cultures. To learn more, please view the History of the Collections.

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Monnet Hall
630 Parrington Oval, Rm. 300
Norman, OK 73019
United States

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Collections Availability

In the summer of 2023, the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma Libraries announced that it would undergo a professional preservation treatment project for over 3,600 linear feet of archival records in its collection holdings.

We are pleased to announce the first phase of the preservation project was a success. All collection materials identified in this phase were fully remediated and have been returned to secure and environmentally stable storage locations at OU. 

University Libraries personnel are now opening remediated collection assets for public accessibility and research again. Please contact Western History Collections at or (405) 325-2904 to request access to collection materials. Users who inquired about collection materials that were unavailable during the project will be contacted to inform them of collection availability.

Thank you for your patience while these resources were unavailable for use during the duration of this phase of the project. University Libraries anticipate subsequent phases of this project to preserve additional collection materials stored in Western History Collections. University Libraries will provide further updates as this work continues. 

Appointments for Researchers

Research appointments are required, since many collection materials are stored offsite. The appointment scheduler has space to list the materials that you need or to note that you need assistance identifying resources.

Appointments are available Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm. 

Scheduling form 

Please also pre-register as a researcher.

Course Support and Instruction

Faculty: Contact us regarding instructional needs. 

Western History Collections Research Fellows

Learn more about the Western History Collections Fellowships.

Masterson Fellows

Abby Gibson is a PhD candidate in the Van Hunnick History Department at the University of Southern California. Before arriving at USC, she received her Master's degree in the history of the American West at the University of Oklahoma. Abby's dissertation, "Fearful Land: Managing Terror in the American West, 1820–1920" lies at the intersection of the history of U.S. westward expansion and the history of emotions. This project reexamines the protracted struggle for the West over the course of the 19th century through the lens of fear, tracing the terrors this region posed to an expanding settler nation. Her novel analytic focus on the emotional underpinnings of the American settler project introduces a different set of criteria by which to characterize this process and its instruments. Abby's dissertation ultimately suggests that we measure the culmination of this process in terms of feeling when the West as a colonized region emerged as both a materially and emotionally managed landscape fully incorporated within the territorial and affective boundaries of the United States.

Emma Herman is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Harvard University. She is an Americanist with a background in carceral studies, currently studying U.S-Native relations and the history of the American West. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Indian country is a place: sovereignty, law, and the making and unmaking of Oklahoma, 1871-1934,” explores the social, legal, and spatial relationships of settlers and Natives in the area variously organized as Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory, and the state of Oklahoma from break-up of treaty-making to the formal reconstitution of Native governments. Her other fields of interest include critical geography, environmental history, political theory, and the digital humanities. 

Haley Fellows

Tom Kahle is a History PhD student at the University of Oklahoma whose research interests include federal Indian policy, Native American activism, and 1960s/70s social movements. He earned his BA (‘19) from Coe College and MA (‘23) from the University of Oklahoma. While a master’s student, he worked as an editorial fellow for the Western Historical Quarterly. He looks forward to spending his Jack Haley Fellowship researching the origins and history of the Red Power Movement in Oklahoma. He is particularly interested in Native American student organizations and the relationship between Indian activists that worked within political systems and those that worked outside of them. 

Adam J. Krejčí is a PhD student at the University of Oklahoma studying the American West, the Civil War, empire, and war and society. His research is focused on the American West during the Civil War Era, specifically on the implementation of pro-slavery and free soil pre-war imperial visions in Kansas, Nebraska, and Indian Territory (Oklahoma). His research as a Jack Haley Fellow will focus on integrating Oklahoma into conversations about the Civil War Era beyond the military history by specifically examining the effects and consequences of Native dispossession, the advent of railroads and cattle trails, and agitation by White settlers to open Indian Territory for non-Native settlement, which built upon earlier federal policies of public land distribution into private hands. He has been the recipient of the Christian Prize for outstanding performance by a first-year history graduate student and is a four-time recipient of the Provost’s Certificate for Distinction in Teaching. His MA thesis at OU focused on the culture of warfare during the Indian Territory Civil War. Adam also holds a law degree and is published on election law stemming from his law review research. He is still a licensed attorney practicing in Oklahoma. 


Faculty: Using the Western History Collections in Your Classes

Research Help



Wi-Fi Access

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Wi-Fi access is available in all rooms of the library. Instructors and students can access the internet by wirelessly connecting to the University's wi-fi network.