Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Oklahoma History

Primary Sources

A primary source is usually a record made at the time of an event by participants or by firsthand observers. Examples include contemporary newspaper or magazine accounts, government reports, photographs, and manuscripts. For the full primary sources guide, see

For the history of the University of Oklahoma, see:

Newspapers and Magazines

Many Oklahoma cities, towns, and counties have daily or weekly newspapers. There are also many tribal newspapers published throughout Oklahoma. These resources may be found in a variety of places, both inside and outside the university.

For Oklahoma newspapers, check the OHS Research Center's Newspaper Catalog. Some of these newspapers are available digitally while other are available on-site at the OHS Research Center.

To locate tribal newspapers at OU, search Discover Local using "Indians of North America Newspapers" as the search term under the "Subject" category and choose "Journals" from the "Material Type" drop-down menu. Using the search term "Oklahoma newspapers" in the same way will bring up those newspapers available in the OU Libraries.

Digital Collections from the OU Western History Collections

The Western History Collections' Digital Collections feature oral histories and Native American manuscripts, rich primary resources highlighting many aspects of Oklahoma history.


Photographs are a rich primary source. They can help make historical events more realistic by providing images of the who, what, when, and where of history.

The Western History Collections has physical photograph guide books on many subjects, including Oklahoma land runs, dust storms, cowboys, and the settlement of Oklahoma. These physical resources are available in the Western History Collections reading room (Monnet Hall room 300).

Digital photograph resources are listed below.

Manuscripts from the OU Western History Collections

Manuscripts are typically primary resources. Manuscript collections can include:

  • diaries
  • journals
  • business records
  • personal or business correspondence
  • unpublished manuscripts (books, articles, etc.)
  • family records
  • tribal records

There are three main ways to locate manuscript collections related to Oklahoma history. they are:

When you find a collection that fits your topic visit the Western History Collections to see the documents.

Government Documents

Government documents are any documents published by the government, both at the federal and state level. Government documents are found in many places, but the best place to start finding Oklahoma government material is in Jeffrey Wilhite's (the Government Documents Librarian) guide to Oklahoma Resources,

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries features the Oklahoma Digital Prairie. It contains digitized government documents and related collections. Topics include state government publications, forms, and audits; the Red River Compact; Confederate Pension Cards; almanacs; the Tulsa Race Riot; Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher; Oklahoma Governors; and Oklahoma Authors.

Also see OU Law Library guides related to Oklahoma listed below, under Other Resources.

1910 Census with Names.


  • This is a bit like the free version of (which is only available in-house at the Norman Public Library, unless you have your own personal subscription.) It is free, but requires you to sign up for an account.
  • Use the "search records" function to search resources such as the United States Census.


Family History Resources

Family history resources can come in many forms. Some will be available through the university and others available through outside organizations.

The Western History Collections Manuscript Collections feature many family collections, so check our printed guide to see if yours is included. Also see this page with finding aids to the Collections.

Below are links to other online resources available through area organizations.

Other Resources