By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Charles Tate, chair of the 2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference Committee, recently announced the four individuals that were inducted into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame at the conference’s annual Awards Luncheon in Chickasha last month.
“The Oklahoma Historical Society is proud to add these four well-deserved entries into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame,” said Larry O’Dell, Director of Special Projects/Development. “They all have greatly contributed to this state’s historic record and landscape.”
The 2019 Oklahoma History and Preservation Conference was sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) and the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office.
Born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico, Dr. Dianna Everett earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern New Mexico University, and received her doctorate in history from Texas Tech University with a minor in anthropology. From 1979 to 1988 she worked for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum as the director of publications and grants administrator, where she edited the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review.
After moving to Oklahoma, Everett did research and writing for the OHS, Oklahoma Museums Association, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office. She also created history exhibits for the Oklahoma Humanities Council under National Endowment for the Humanities grants. She served as managing editor for The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture project for the OHS and as OHS director of publications and editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Everett has written and edited seven books and more than 60 National Register of Historic Places nominations, three Historic District nominations and a National Historic Landmark designation.
Emmy Scott Stidham was born in Edmond, graduated from Checotah High School, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where she majored in journalism. Stidham helped organize the Checotah Landmark Preservation Society to save the local Katy Railroad Depot. As president of the organization, Stidham moved the depot, financed its renovation and developed a long-range plan to turn it into a museum and community center. In 1987 she was instrumental in coordinating volunteers for the first OHS Battle of Honey Springs reenactment and has continued helping with the event for over 30 years. Stidham has served on the OHS executive board, as treasurer, vice president and president, from 2011 to 2014.
An enrolled member of the Seminole Nation, Mary Jo Watson was born in Seminole and graduated from Seminole High School. Watson earned a bachelor of fine arts, a master of liberal studies, and a doctorate in art history from the University of Oklahoma (OU). After receiving her doctorate, Watson joined the OU School of Art and Art History as a full-time faculty member. Watson developed OU’s Native Art History program, creating a series of undergraduate and graduate courses and establishing the first art history doctoral program in Oklahoma to include an emphasis on American Indian art and art of the American West. In 2002, she became associate dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts and served as director of the School of Art and Art History, from 2006 – 2013. In 2008 was named a University of Oklahoma regents professor. Watson has given presentations about American Indian art all over the world and in 2009 the Native American Art Market selected her as a juror.
Helen Freudenberger Holmes (December 16, 1915 – March 22, 1997) was born and raised near Pleasant Valley, Oklahoma. After graduating from Coyle High School as its valedictorian, she attended Oklahoma A&M College, later Oklahoma State University, where she majored in English. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Holmes taught journalism at Oklahoma A&M, the first woman to do so. She also produced and delivered three weekly newscasts on Tulsa’s KVOO radio station. During World War II, she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and graduated as part of the first officer’s training class. Holmes served as a public relations officer and intelligence officer stationed in several locations, including Germany, retiring with the rank of major. Holmes served on Guthrie’s city council and was later elected as its mayor, where she championed the architectural renovation of the city. Holmes was the principal author and editor of the 1,200-plus page, two-volume Logan County History: 1889–1979. For 17 years she wrote an ’89er edition of the Guthrie Daily Leader to commemorate the Land Run of 1889 and authored Homes of Historic Guthrie in 1987.
Since 1993, OHS has annually honored inductees, both professional and amateur, in its Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. Recipients are selected on the basis of their contributions to the preservation, collection, interpretation and dissemination of Oklahoma history. To date, 109 individuals have been inducted.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state.
Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the Oklahoma Historical Society, visit okhistory.org.