ADA — Patricia Loughlin and William D. Welge, authors of two new books about Oklahoma's unique history, will sign their books from 10-10:45 a.m. Friday in the atrium of East Central University's Danley Hall.

Welge is the co-author of "Oklahoma: A Rich Heritage" and Loughlin is the author of "Hidden Treasures of the American West: Muriel H. Wright, Angie Debo and Alice Marriott."

"As we begin to focus on our state's centennial, this will be a chance to meet and visit with Oklahoma authors who have written about our history," said Dr. Linda Reese, ECU assistant professor of history. "They will sign their books and visit with anyone who wants to come."

The books will be available for purchase.

The authors are among 30 judges for the student research paper competition at the annual Oklahoma Association of Professional Historians/Phi Alpha Theta Conference which ECU is hosting Friday evening and Saturday morning. ECU students presenting papers will be Andrew Mayhue of Ada and Jared Johnson of Holdenville.

Loughlin, an assistant professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma, wrote about three women mostly overlooked by scholars of the American West, yet who produced some of the most important writings about Oklahoma and the Southwest during the 1930s and 1940s.

Wright, an Oklahoma Choctaw who wrote for "Chronicles of Oklahoma,"emphasized American Indians' progress, viability and endurance rather than their problems. Debo studied American Indian history and Oklahoma's distinct identity as a frontier and Indian settlement. Because of her approach and her gender, she repeatedly was denied tenure and permanent academic positions. Marriott, an anthropologist and pioneer of experimental ethnography, worked to convince collectors that Oklahoma Indian crafts were as precious as those from the Southwest and were worth preserving.

Welge, director of the Oklahoma Historical Society Archives and an authority on genealogical research, wrote an in-depth account of the state's history that captures the essence of Oklahoma and its people, from early day Indians to modern cowboys, the first crops to the continuing oil boom and the early land runs to the state's 77 counties.

About 200 history students and professors are expected for the OAPH/Phi Alpha Theta conference. Graduate and undergraduate students from across Oklahoma will present 42 research papers in 15 sessions Saturday morning. Discussion groups also will be held on topics relating to history and scholarship.

Dr. Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle East and South Asian history at the University of Michigan, will present the keynote address Friday night on America, Iraq and the Shiite Crescent." He also spoke at the Watkins Lectureship on Thursday.

The conference will close Saturday after a luncheon featuring a traditional music performance of flute, drum and guitar by Chickasaw Nation artists who have been nominated for Native American music awards, followed by an awards presentation for the winning papers.

For more information, contact Dr. Linda Reese at (580) 310-5563 or Dr. Scott Barton at (580) 310-5420.

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