Literary Landmark: Stroud Public Library - Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel

Stroud, Okla.

Dedicated: April 28, 2013
Partners: Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma

From left, Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; Pattee Russell-Curry; Marsha Morgan, Stroud Public Library director; Karen Neurohr, Oklahoma State University librarian, FOLIO member, and coordinator; and Michael Wallis. Stroud Public Library was designated Literary Landmark in honor of poet Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (1918-2007). The dedication took place at Stroud Public Schools and featured award-winning author and Route 66 expert Michael Wallis as master of ceremonies; author and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; a screening of Down an Old Road: The Poetic Life of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel by Chris Simon, Sageland Media; music by the Stroud High School Show Choir; remarks by family member Pattee Russell-Curry; and a reception by the Stroud Library Society. Awards were presented to 23 winning entries for the Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel Poetry Contest for rural high school students in Lincoln and Creek counties.

Born near Stroud, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel lived in Lincoln and Creek counties until the effects of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl led her family to migrate to California in 1936. Her writing validated the migrant experience; she became known as the “Okie Poet” in the Central Valley of California and was named Tulare’s Bicentennial Poet and Poet Laureate. Throughout her life her Oklahoma roots remained strong, and she has many poems about her early life in Lincoln and Creek counties and love for Oklahoma.

The Stroud Public Library owns a collection of McDaniel’s books and papers.

FOLIO has a statewide Literary Landmark program and has dedicated 10 other Oklahoma Literary Landmark sites, including those for Woody Guthrie, Ralph Ellison, John Berryman and Will Rogers.


Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (Digital Collections at OSU Library)