THE LAST AMATEUR: THE LIFE OF CHARLIE COE
BY STEPHEN M. PRESCOTT -- $24.95 at Scissortail Gifts
Amateur golfer Charles Robert "Charlie" Coe is recognized as one of the best golfers to ever play the game. Born in Ardmore, he won the Oklahoma State Championship during high school, three conference championships while attending the University of Oklahoma, and just one year after graduation his first U. S. Championship.
Known for his intense concentration, competitiveness, and ability to find the advantage in the most precarious situations, his career included 27 consecutive match-play victories, Trans-Mississippi and Western Amateur wins, strong finishes in the British Amateur, U. S. Open, and the Masters, six Walker Cup selections, and multiple amateur records—some still on the record books today. He played alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, both of whom have spoken openly about their respect for Coe not only as a golfer, but as a gentleman.
Coe’s awards and accolades are numerous, but the one that meant the most to him was the Bob Jones Award—golf’s most prestigious—from the United States Golf Association. During the presentation Jones said “Rather than think the award honors Charlie, it is more appropriate to think that he adds meaning to the award by accepting it.” Although he possessed the talent to go pro, Coe played during a time when professional golfers did not earn enough to support themselves or a family. The father of three, Coe, with the support of his wife Liz, decided to focus on the family business—oil.
It was after Coe’s passing that Dr. Stephen M. Prescott learned about the golfer and his outstanding career. With the help of Coe’s widow and sons, the discovery of a draft autobiography, and interviews with golfers and friends who knew Coe well, Prescott began writing. The result—The Last Amateur: The Life of Charlie Coe. Enjoy.
THE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & ARTS OF OKLAHOMA
BY DAN HOBBS & JAMES W. FINCK -- $34.95 at Scissortail Gifts
The story of the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) is unique. It is a story of hope, persistence, and dedication. It is a story of family. Like most families it is dysfunctional at times, but a family nonetheless. Its people are the glue that have held the campus together.
It is a story with three distinct chapters. When the school first opened its doors as the Oklahoma College for Women (OCW), it had a much different mission. The State Legislature wanted “a school for the high literary and industrial education for white girls.” OCW wanted to improve the women’s intellect, but also wanted to prepare them as homemakers and social, civic, industrial, and educational leaders. The second chapter began in 1965 with a change in name, mission, and student body. In that year the college began admitting males and changed the name to the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (OCLA). The mission of OCLA was to provide a quality liberal arts education to Oklahoma students. Finally, the third chapter began in 1974 with a final name change to the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, but things really transformed in 2005 with the Mission Enhancement Plan.
The backdrop for this story is the small Oklahoma town of Chickasha. Chickasha is a quiet all-American town about forty miles southwest of the state capital of Oklahoma City. The land where Chickasha sits was once part of Indian Territory, particularly Chickasaw land. In 1892, the Rock Island Railroad halted construction on its line to make business transactions. While they waited, a boxcar was set up along with a temporary depot called Chickasha. After a tent city grew around the depot, when the trains moved along Chickasha remained. It would soon become a transportation hub, with several railroads and later roads and interstates passing through, and an agricultural shipping hub. Around the time of statehood Chickasha had one of the highest populations in Oklahoma and enough pull to attract a new college. Chickasha did not remain a large town. The county seat of Grady County, the population is around 15,000. Yet Chickasha has become home to thousands of students, faculty, and staff who have studied and worked at OCW, OCLA, or USAO.
This is a story that needs telling now, a period when the survival of the college has been questioned. It is important to know that this current economic difficulty is not its first challenge, it is not even its worst, and surely not its last. Together, the faculty and students have made USAO more relevant and stronger than ever.
THROWAWAY KIDS: REFORMING OKLAHOMA’S JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
BY TERRY SMITH AND BOB BURKE -- $22.95 at Scissortail Gifts
In 1978, Steven A. Novick, an Oklahoma City Legal Aid lawyer, filed a federal court lawsuit against Lloyd Rader, the head of Oklahoma’s welfare agency and the most powerful man in the state. The class action lawsuit alleged horrific and unspeakable treatment of juveniles at six state institutions. The treatment, from coerced sex acts and rape, to locking children in solitary confinement in cells with only a blanket and no toilet, bed, or water, shocked Oklahomans, especially its leaders who had ignored rumors of inhumane treatment of children for years.
Oklahoma received terrible nationwide publicity when the allegations were proved. ABC 20/20 called its investigative report, “Throwaway Kids,” and a Gannett News Service probe labeled its special reports, “Oklahoma Shame.”
This is the story about the Terry D. lawsuit, named for one of the eight minor plaintiffs whose case resulted in the closure of Oklahoma juvenile institutions and brought new procedures for handling deprived and delinquent children in the state.
The lawsuit lasted 20 years and perhaps is the most significant case of its kind in the nation. Juvenile justice experts frequently refer to the national and long-term impact of Terry D.
GORE & OWEN: OKLAHOMA’S FIRST TWO U. S. SENATORS
BY ROBERT HENRY AND BOB BURKE -- $22.95 at Scissortail Gifts
Even though Oklahoma entered the Union as a new state in 1907, the election of two strong U.S. Senators gave the state instant respect and influence.
Thomas P. Gore joined the Democrats in early Oklahoma after years as an activist for the Populist Party. Having lost his eyesight during his youth, he was one of the nation’s most effective orators. His grasp of legislative subjects and the ability to deliver long speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate marveled his colleagues and the press, who dubbed him “The Blind Cowboy.”
Gore stood firm in his convictions even when his positions cost him elections. He opposed America’s entrance into World War I, and lost his bid for reelection in 1920. He risked his friendship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt by casting the lone vote against the establishment of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression.
Robert L. Owen served as U.S. Senator for the first 18 years of statehood. After coming to Indian Territory with his mother, Owen was a schoolteacher, lawyer, journalist, Indian agent, and banker. He was popular for winning a major court case on behalf of the Eastern Cherokees in seeking compensation from the federal government for eastern lands lost during removal.
A Democrat who fought to strengthen public control of government and fight child labor use, Owen is best known as the Senate sponsor of the Glass-Owen Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the legislation that created the Federal Reserve System. For his efforts in stabilizing America’s banking industry, Owen has been called the “Father of the Federal Reserve.”
Even though Gore and Owen were often far apart on issues, they both dearly loved Oklahoma and its people. They were accessible to constituents and made certain Oklahoma received its fair share of federal funds. Both were instrumental in establishing a power base to be built upon by later congressmen and senators to assure that the Sooner State’s voice in the federal government was strong.
TIM LEONARD: SON OF THE PANHANDLE
BY BOB BURKE AND JOE HEATON -- $22.95 at Scissortail Gifts
The story of Tim Leonard begins in the Oklahoma Panhandle, a stretch of Oklahoma that is unique in history and distinctive in appearance. At the entrance of Beaver County where he was born, there are no trees, no hills, and no buildings to obstruct the openness. There is only the gently undulating land, dotted with sagebrush growing in the short buffalo grass, extending mile after mile. Drawing from the strength of the land, Leonard earned a law degree and entered the U.S. Navy. The stories of his assignment as a military aide at the White House during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson could fill an entire book. But that was not the end of his life of public service. As Minority Leader of the Oklahoma State Senate, U.S. Attorney, and federal judge, Leonard has gained respect from a legion of other public officials and everyday citizens across the nation. His integrity and perseverance reflect the land from which he came.