Story provided by OSU Edmon Low Library
The Oklahoma State University Library was awarded over $1.2 million by the Senate Historical Office. This preservation partnership grant will fund the supplies, personnel and space needed to process, archive and make publicly available the papers of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.
“Senator Inhofe’s career has helped shape today’s Oklahoma and left a mark on national discourse,” said Sheila Johnson, dean of Libraries and Clerico Family Chair for Library Excellence. “We are honored to serve as the repository for the senator’s papers.”
In late 2022, Inhofe announced that he had selected OSU as the repository for his archive. The senator’s papers document his public service from 1967 to 2023, covering his tenure in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, Oklahoma State Senate, Mayor of Tulsa, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The records contain constituent mail, Inhofe’s schedules, legislative, press and audio-visual files, awards and memorabilia.
After learning that OSU would receive the senator’s papers, the Library was invited to apply for support. In 2022, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee earmarked $10 million to assist with the proper archiving of official records. The purpose of the funding is to ensure the preservation of senators’ records and the donation of such records to research institutions to make them available to the public. Grants, like the one awarded to OSU, are one way the funding is being used.
“Our Special Collections and University Archives endeavor to gather and protect significant records that preserve our history and culture,” Johnson said. “Sen. Inhofe’s papers represent an important element of Oklahoma history, and this collection will serve as a valuable resource for researchers for generations to come.”
The Library has received about half the collection; the remainder should arrive in early 2023. Due to the massive size of the collection — over 1,400 linear feet — archivists anticipate it will take more than five years to process the collection. The collection will be held in the OSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives and will be available by appointment.
For more information about the Senator Jim Inhofe Collection or to inquire about access to material in the collection once it has been processed, contact the OSU Library Special Collections and University Archives at 405-744-6311 or [email protected].