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Hannah Diggs Atkins Papers

Identifier: 1993-045

Scope and Contents

Collection contains personal papers, clippings, speeches, photographs, political campaign material, and memorabilia which document Hannah Diggs Atkins’ many years of public service and her involvement in Democratic Party politics, women’s issues, education, and civil rights and liberties.


  • 1950 - 2001
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Oklahoma Open Records Act (, and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Oklahoma State University Libraries assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Oklahoma State University Archives will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to Oklahoma State University Libraries, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Copyright for material published by Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College/Oklahoma State University is held by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges. All rights reserved.

Further information about copyright policy can be obtained by contacting Oklahoma State University Archives by email at or by phone at 405-744-6311.

Finding aid © 2017 Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges. All rights reserved.

Biographical Sketch

Hannah D. Atkins, the first African-American woman to be elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, served from 1968 until 1980 as the representative from the 97th District. She authored bills to improve the mental health system, require immunizations for school age children, support elections of school boards by wards, and establish open meetings laws. President Jimmy Carter named Atkins to the General Assembly of the 35th Session of the United Nations in 1980. She was a member of several committees and served as Chairwoman of the Third Committee, which concentrated on social and economic issues. In January 1983 Henry Bellmon selected Atkins as Assistant Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Then in January 1987, following his election as Governor, Bellmon asked Atkins to serve as the Cabinet Secretary for Social Services, which was changed to Cabinet Secretary of Human Resources in September 1987. That latter month also was when she added Secretary of State to her duties, where she served until January 1991. Atkins has taught at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Central Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City University Law School, and Oklahoma State University. She also has served as a director on numerous boards and as an officer in a wide variety of organizations, several of which have been concerned with civil rights and liberties. Among the many honors she has received is the National Governors’ Association Award for Distinguished Service to State Government.


46 Linear feet (26 record storage boxes, 5 oversized boxes, 3 document boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged into 16 series.


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog or contact the Oklahoma State University Archives Reference staff.

Related Archival Materials

2007.114. Hannah Atkins Collection. 1950-2005. Housed at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at Oklahoma State University also conducted an oral history interview with Atkins. It can be found here.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Walker, 1994; Eric Leuschner, 1996; Millie Jackson, 1997; Tom Jorsch, 1997.
Hannah Diggs Atkins Papers Collection Number 1993-045
Susan Walker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Oklahoma State University Archives Repository

204 Edmon Low Library
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater 74078-1071 USA