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OSU library receives $1.2 million grant to process U.S. Sen. Inhofe's papers

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The Senate Historical Office awarded the Oklahoma State University Library more than $1.2 million.

The Oklahoma State University Library received $1.2 million from the Senate Historical Office. 

The money is part of a preservation partnership grant, which will fund the supplies, employees and space to process, archive and make U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s papers publicly available. 

Sheila Johnson, Dean of Libraries and Clerico Family Chair for Library Excellence, said the library is thankful for the opportunity.

“Senator Inhofe’s career has helped shape today’s Oklahoma and left a mark on national discourse,” Johnson said. “We are honored to serve as the repository for the senator’s papers.”

Inhofe announced OSU as the repository for his archive in late 2022. The papers that will be processed include documents of Inhofe’s public service from 1967 to 2023. These years cover his time as a member of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, Oklahoma State Senate, Mayor of Tulsa, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The papers vary, including constituent mail, Inhofe’s schedules, legislative, press and audio-visual files and awards.

The library was invited to apply for support after receiving news that OSU would house Inhofe’s papers. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee earmarked $10 million to help with the archiving process.

This funding will preserve the senator’s records and donate the records to research institutions, which will make the documents public. 

“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.”

OSU’s library has already received half of Inhofe’s collection. The other half is expected to arrive in early 2023. Archivists expect it to take over five years to process the collection due to its size, over 1,400 linear feet. 

Inhofe’s collection will be housed by the OSU Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. All documents will be available to view by appointment.

For more information about Inhofe’s Collection or to inquire about accessing the material, contact the OSU Library Special Collections and University Archives at 405-744-6311 or libraryhelp@okstate.edu.