United for Libraries and Tulare County Historical Society to celebrate first female Literary Landmark honoree in California

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/10/2020


Trish McFadden

Program Coordinator

United for Libraries

(312) 280-5872


EXTON, Pennsylvania — United for Libraries will designate Tulare Historical Museum in California as a Literary Landmark™ in honor of Tulare County Bicentennial Poet and Poet Laureate Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel. The designation will mark the first woman to be honored with a Literary Landmark in the state of California.

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (1918-2007) was born in Stroud, Oklahoma. She moved to California as a teenager during the Dust Bowl Migration of the Great Depression. While she began writing poetry as a child, McDaniel’s first poem was not published until her fifties, in the “Tulare Advance – Register” newspaper. Approximately 50 booklets of her poetry and stories have been published, many of which have been taught in schools and universities. Her experiences growing up in Oklahoma, the migrant experience, and living in Tulare all influenced her evocative, plain language poetry that resulted in her being dubbed “the Okie Poet.”

The dedication ceremony will take place at Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Avenue on Saturday, March 28th at 11 a.m. The event will feature musical entertainment, and guests will be served free brunch. United for Libraries Literary Landmarks Committee chair Karen Neurohr will offer opening remarks, in addition to numerous other guest speakers. A Literary Landmark plaque will be unveiled and readings of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel’s poetry will be recited during the ceremony. Partnering organizations include Tulare County Historical Society, Tulare County Library, and the Tulare Historical Museum.

This designation marks the second Literary Landmark dedicated in honor of poet Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel. The first site, Stroud Public Library in Stroud, Oklahoma, was designated in April 2013.

Tulare Historical Museum Governed by an elected Board of Trustees, the museum is operated by a professional staff of four employees, assisted by nearly 100 volunteers. Artfully arranged exhibits tell the stories of the original inhabitants of the area (the Yokuts), the founding of Tulare by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and the indomitable pioneers who persevered against overwhelming odds.  Visitors have the opportunity to peek inside Tulare homes and business establishments, as they appeared more than a century ago. In addition to offering guided tours of the exhibits, the museum schedules changing displays of original art in the Heritage Room.

The Literary Landmark™ program is administered by United for Libraries. More than 150 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 with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit www.ala.org/united or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.