Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from A-E

Debo, Angie (1890–1988) - Western History

oklahoma university american published

Angie Debo, who fought political pressure and threats of libel to reveal conspiracies carried out to cheat Native Americans out of their land, was born January 30, 1890, in Beattie, Kansas, to Edward Peter Debo, a farmer, and Lina Elbertha (Cooper) Debo. Nine years later the family arrived in Marshall, Oklahoma Territory, in a covered wagon. Debo attended and eventually taught at rural schools in Kansas and Oklahoma. She seldom had access to libraries or magazines and often had only one book to read, that given to each child in her family at Christmas. She had to wait eight years to go to high school because none existed where she lived; she graduated in the first graduating class of 1913 at the age of twenty-three. Despite her lack of urban education, Angie Debo received an A.B. from the University of Oklahoma in 1918, where she studied under important western historian Edward Everett Dale, who in turn had studied under Frederick Jackson Turner.

Debo continued to teach until 1924, when she received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. Her master’s thesis, The Historical Background of the American Policy of Isolation , was published with J. Fred Rippy that year. While earning her doctorate, Debo taught at West Texas State Teachers College (now West Texas State University) in Canyon as an assistant professor of history from 1924 to 1933; she received a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and the next year the University of Oklahoma Press published her doctoral dissertation, The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic , which received the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association in 1935.

Debo never served for any length of time on the faculty of a university, preferring instead to write freelance; however, she was a curator at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, for one year (1933) and was a member of the faculty at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College in the summer of 1935. In 1940 the controversial book And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes was published by Princeton University Press after being deemed too controversial by the University of Oklahoma Press. In 1941 Debo published The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians and edited, with John M. Oskison, Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State . She was also state director of the Federal Writers Program for Oklahoma in 1940–41.

In 1942 Angie Debo received the Alfred A. Knopf History Fellowship, and in 1943 she wrote Tulsa: From Creek Town to Oil Capital , followed the next year by Prairie City: The Story of an American Community . She was a fellow of the University of Oklahoma in 1946, and a member of the history faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1945, 1946, and 1957–58. In 1949 she wrote Oklahoma: Foot-Loose and Fancy-Free . The next year she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. From 1947 to 1955 she was curator of maps and a member of the library staff at the university. She edited The Cowman’s Southwest: Being the Reminiscences of Oliver Nelson in 1953 and was a member of the board of directors of the Association of American Indian Affairs from 1956 to 1966. She wrote The Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma: A Report on Social and Economic Conditions for the association in 1961. She was editor of H. B. Cushman’s History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians in 1962. In 1970 she wrote A History of the Indians of the United States , and in 1976 published Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place . From 1973 to 1977 she was a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oklahoma. In 1983 the University of Oklahoma awarded her their highest award, the Distinguished Service Citation. In 1985 the state of Oklahoma placed her portrait in the rotunda of its capitol. Two weeks before her death in 1988, Debo received the Award for Scholarly Distinction from the American Historical Association and was called “the first lady of Oklahoma history” by Governor Henry Bellmon ( Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman ). After her death, the University of Oklahoma Press initiated an award of $5,000 each year for the best book about the American Southwest published by the press. The award is named in honor of Angie Debo and was planned to be presented for the first time in the autumn of 1995.

Debye, Peter (Joseph William) [next] [back] DeBaptiste, Richard(1831–1901) - Minister, educator, Olivet Baptist Church, Other Services, Chronology

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or