Published by: Gilcrease Museum
Imprint: Gilcrease Museum
192 Pages | 9 x 10 | 262 color and b&w illus.
The story of Thomas Gilcrease (1890–1962) is the story of the world’s first oil boom, of a state in its formative years, of marriages and fortunes made and lost—but most lastingly it is the story of how the Gilcrease collection came to exist, and how Gilcrease Museum became an unparalleled treasure house now owned by the citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma. With over 500,000 artifacts, pieces of art, and archival gems, it is a testament to one man’s dedication and vision. In Thomas Gilcrease, the man behind that museum is revealed.
Born in 1890, Thomas Gilcrease came of age at roughly the same time that Indian Territory became the forty-sixth state of the Union, in 1907. As a citizen of the Creek Nation, he received a 160-acre allotment near Kiefer—land located, as it turned out, within the famous Glenn Pool oil field. By August 1909, the forty-nine wells on this parcel were producing 25,000 barrels a month. Gilcrease and his wife began traveling the country, taking in art galleries and museums in New York City and the World’s Fair in San Francisco. It was in Tulsa, however, that he purchasedRural Courtship, his first piece of art, and began a collection that eventually contained thousands
As he advanced in age and his wealth increased, Gilcrease contemplated how to use his fortune to create something of value for future generations. In 1931 he told his friend Robert Humber of his decision: he would establish the Gilcrease Foundation, which would fund a museum, a library, and a home for underprivileged children.
The ten essays in this volume, illustrated with more than 100 color images and rarely seen historical photographs, tell the story of one man’s life and legacy. The contributors include present and former staff of the Gilcrease Museum and regular contributors to its journal. “Every man must leave a track,” Gilcrease once said, “and it might as well be a good one.”