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Lucy Jeston Hampton

About the Collection

Lucy Jeston Hampton (1887-1965) was a professor of history at UCO for 48 years, from 1910 until she retired in 1958. She received her Life Certificate in 1909 from Southwestern State College and was the principal and history teacher at Clinton High School. In 1910, Hampton joined the faculty of Central State Normal School (UCO) at the age of 23 and over the next 48 years she would cultivate, encourage, and inspire her students to investigate and question their history and that of the world around them.

She believed using primary resources in the teaching of history lead to a more empowered citizenry which is evident in how her students perceived her. Students in her classes remarked that she "required perfection," "demanded students to be accountable for their convictions," "made them THINK," "made you stop and think before you opened your mouth," and "motivated them to feel the excitement of being an important citizen of the world."

Hampton had an opportunity to view history in the making. Probably her greatest eye-witness account of history came in 1913 when she was made alternate presidential electoral messenger for President Wilson's first inauguration.

In 1915, she founded the Historical Society for the explicit purpose of making source records available in the classroom and in other processes of education; thus demonstrating that the logical place for the Historical Museum (The Laboratory of History Museum in Evans Hall) is in an institution of learning and that history courses should be scheduled with a laboratory period just like the sciences. 

Scope and Content

The Hampton papers provide valuable information on the early years of UCO, particularly the origins and development of the Laboratory of History Museum. Her papers, which include personal correspondence, course development materials, speech drafts, correspondence from her many speaking engagements, and lecture notes, chronicle her many achievements.


The collection was donated by Betty White, an alumna of UCO and Hampton's niece.