Local establishes OCHS Book Fund

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Local establishes OCHS Book Fund

When Pawhuskan Janet Jech Loftis learned the Osage County Historical Society’s book store had a hold on purchasing new books, she opted to do something about it.

OCHS Director Barbara Pease said, “We are so proud of our beautifully updated museum; but, it took a big crunch out of our operating monies. Insurance did not cover everything, especially the much-needed addition. We are operating under a pretty strict budget right now as we are trying to recoup from the fire. Janet’s family (husband Jerry and son Terry) were the contractors who brought our Museum back to life. Janet and Terry are also lifetime members of the OCHS Museum. This family has a close connection to us. (Laughing), Jerry calls the Museum his baby.

“Janet said she believes the Museum Book Store provides an outstanding opportunity to offer books written by local authors and former residents. We are the only book store in Pawhuska or Osage County for that matter. Janet felt, through the Book Store, visitors would learn about the great people who have lived here and who are connected to our community.

“This book fund is just one of the many things the Loftis family has done to help preserve our beloved Museum.” Pease said as a small way of acknowledging Janet’s gift, we are creating a custom-designed bookmark to signify books purchased were made possible through the Janet Jech Loftis Book Fund.”

In presenting her gift, Loftis said, “Pawhuska is very proud of this wonderful Museum. The people that have worked on it in the past as well as the continuation of devoted people is outstanding. We just need to make it someplace that people want to return for a visit, bring family and friends, or just come back – maybe buy a book.”

Pease and OCHS Director/Book Store Chair Patty Gambill could not agree more. Gambill said, “The Museum is also the recent benefactor of a massive collection of gently used books from across the nation. We are in the process of cataloging, reviewing and organizing them – many of which will be available in our bargain bin. I encourage anyone who has visited us before and not found what they wanted, to come back. If you still can’t find what you want, let us know.”

Pease interjected, “Patty’s right. We still have a man who helps us locate rare, out-of-print and one-of-a-kind publications. Prices will be at today’s market prices. Most people understand that.”

Gambill said the Museum is currently building a reference library that will include a section on genealogy, Native Americans, biographies, autobiographies and military conflicts – including wars from the revolution on up to current. In addition, if there is enough interest, she and Carolyn Johnson will offer a free genealogy class in the near future.

With the holidays fast approaching, the Museum Book store plans to have a wide assortment of books available. “We will have books from our local celebrities, especially Ree Drummond, John Joseph Matthews, Louis Burns, man from Cleveland,” said Pease. “In addition, we are ordering a wide selection of children’s books.”

Gambill said, “Anyone sharing Janet’s love for books is welcome to donate to the Janet Jech Loftis Book Fund. This is such a beautiful way to help Osage County while acknowledging one of our finest citizens.”

The Osage County Historical Society Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 918-287-9119, email or visit their website at