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Croft-Murray, Maj. Edward | De Vinna, Maurice A., Jr. | DeWald, Lt. Col. Ernest T.

De Vinna, Maurice A., Jr.  

Civilian, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA)

A career journalist, educator and proponent of the arts, Maurice A. De Vinna was the “first native Tulsan to graduate from Harvard University” and the “first native Oklahoman to receive a degree from the Sorbonne in Paris.”[1] He also studied at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Vienna, Tulane University and Harvard Graduate School. In 1934, De Vinna joined the Tulsa World as the newspaper’s first arts editor.[2] He directed the Works Progress Administration art project in Tulsa until 1939, and worked for the WPA in Oklahoma City as well as other cities across Oklahoma.[3]

De Vinna was drafted into the Army in 1942 and served as an interpreter and editor for various military sections until he was honorably discharged in 1945. From 1946 to 1947, De Vinna held a civilian post with the MFAA in Germany working at the Wiesbaden Collecting Point under Monuments officer Theodore Heinrich.[4] Following his service with the MFAA, De Vinna served as a translation editor at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, comparing English, French, and German versions of court transcripts.

In 1953, De Vinna returned to the Tulsa World as the fine arts editor where he remained on staff until his retirement in 1977. De Vinna’s enthusiastic support of the arts brought him recognition from Europe as well as within Oklahoma. In 1979 De Vinna was named Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes Académique and also received the Ordres des Artes et Lettres by the French government. In 1991, De Vinna was awarded the Oklahoma Governor’s Bill Crawford Memorial Media Award and was inducted into the Tulsa Hall of Fame in 1995.

Prior to De Vinna’s death in 2004, he established the Maurice De Vinna Charitable Trust which provides funds bi-annually for the purchase of art to the Philbrook Museum, located in Tulsa.[5]

[1] “Ex-World fine arts editor Maurcie De Vinna Jr. dies,” Tulsa World, April 2, 2004, A14.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Interview with Nan Sheets, Conducted by Richard K. Doud in Oklahoma City, OK June 4, 1964, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
[4] Interview with Maurice De Vinna by Richard Berge, September 12, 2001.
[5] Missy Kruse, “New Art for a New Century,” Tulsa People, August 2006, 105-106.


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