For immediate release | September 30, 2014

United for Libraries’ Literary Landmark™ for Lynn Riggs rededicated

PHILADELPHIA — United for Libraries’ Literary Landmark for Lynn Riggs was re-dedicated in partnership with Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO) on Sept. 5 in Claremore, Okla.

Originally dedicated in 2003 and placed at the Claremore Public Library, the Literary Landmark plaque was relocated to the newly renovated Claremore Museum of History/Lynn Riggs Memorial Museum. The museum has a permanent exhibit honoring Riggs, a mixed-blood Cherokee, who was born and raised near Claremore in Territorial Oklahoma.

A poet, screenwriter and playwright, Lynn Riggs (1899-1954) is best-known as the author of “Green Grow the Lilacs,” a play that became one of the most popular musicals of all time: “Oklahoma!” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production of “Oklahoma!” opened in 1943 and was revolutionary for musical drama. In 1955 the musical became the Academy Award-winning film starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.

Michael Wallis, award-winning author and historian, served as the master of ceremonies and delivered a speech about Riggs. Wallis has served as the Honorary Chair of FOLIO’s Literary Landmarks Advisory Board since its inception in 2001.

Phyllis Braunlich, author of “Haunted by Home: The Life and Letters of Lynn Riggs,” delivered the keynote speech. In concluding her speech, Braunlich conveyed Riggs’ struggle to find his place and said, “People need understanding and acceptance. Understanding begets respect, and respect begets hope.”

Claremore Mayor William E. Flanagan stated, “This is a very special day for Claremore and the Museum. This museum is about making sure that future generations do not forget those who made Claremore such a memorable place along Route 66.”

Oklahoma has 12 Literary Landmark sites that were coordinated by FOLIO, who also contributes half the cost of the bronze plaques. FOLIO’s efforts with Oklahoma’s Literary Landmarks emphasize community, education, partnerships, and celebration.

The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries. One hundred and forty Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through United for Libraries. More information is available on the United for Libraries website.

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. United for Libraries brings together library trustees, advocates, friends and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information or to join United for Libraries, visit the United for Libraries website or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or


Jillian Kalonick

Markting/Public Relations Specialist

United for Libraries