Dewey Bartlett got the official title as Mayor but what most people won’t know is that he is also considered as the preserver of history of the town.
It was only recently that the mayor of Tulsa from the year 2099 until 2016, decided to show to visitors the historical treasures of the town through the narrow and spiral staircase leading to a basement where it was all kept.
The basement is full of file cabinets while there are boxes filled with photographs, proof sheets as well as photo negatives. This is where Bartlett decided to start looking through the inventory. He would look at the negative of the photographs with the help of ceiling lights in order to have an illuminated look.
He showed a negative of Froug which is a store chain that branched out in Tulsa in 1929 but closed down in the 1980s. Bartlett also showed a photograph of the Robinson Building. He had quite a lot to dig through in order to see something into the stash.
He was able to show images from 1950 of Gamma Phi Beta sorority reunion which was held at the University of Tulsa. There were also photos from the trade show hosted by the Clark Electrical Supply.
Not all the photos presented something to be awed about. There were random photos too. Bartlett put them back in their proper place after viewing and does not give any description to unremarkable photographs.
There are times when Bartlett would emerge from the stash with a pleasant look and holding up a photograph. He was able to discover a photograph of the old airport and what it looks like back in 1954.
Bartlett said that he has accumulated tens of thousands of these files in photographs. Every file has a number of negatives on them. All these images would have been gone now if it wasn’t for the passion of Bartlett when it comes to photography.
The files are part of the photography collection of Howard Hopkins who is a combat photographer in World War II. They are all worthy to be transformed into cheap canvas prints in order to showcase the history of Tulsa.