Joseph B. Thoburn, surveyor
Seven surveyors in Indian Territory, third from left is Joseph B. Thoburn. Thoburn was elected to the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) Board of Directors in 1903, which, as Muriel Wright once said, "opened the gate for his life work." In 1908 he published The History of Oklahoma, the first Oklahoma history textbook adopted by the state. From 1913 to 1917, while in the University of Oklahoma history department, he conducted the first scientific excavations into Oklahoma's prehistory, including the cave-dweller culture of northeastern Oklahoma, the basketmaker culture of northwestern Oklahoma, and the mound-builder culture in Delaware, Le Flore, and Kay counties. He then joined the OHS staff in 1917, serving until his retirement in 1931. Thoburn wrote or edited eight books and more than thirty-six articles, many of which appeared in popular magazines and reached a large audience eager to learn about their young state. He helped found and later edited The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Above all, he was a promoter, selling Oklahoma history to the greatest possible number of people. Joseph Thoburn died March 2, 1941.