Original OK Corral documents re-discovered in Bisbee
Will be presented to state during ceremony Wednesday at State Capitol
Newly-discovered documents related to the infamous Gunfight at OK Corral will be handed over to Secretary of State Ken Bennett during a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the State Capitol .
The documents are part of the original 1881 coroner's inquest, and include 36 pages of handwritten court-reporter testimony from eyewitnesses to the Tombstone showdown that left 3 men dead and featured Wild West figures like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Secretary Bennett will accept the historic records and transfer them to State Archives, which will have them restored and preserved. The documents will be handed over during a ceremony on the Senate lawn at the State Capitol , 1700 W. Washington.
“I'm thrilled that local officials have chosen to entrust the state with these important historic documents,” Secretary Bennett said. “State Archives now can ensure that they are restored and protected for future generations of Arizonans to enjoy.”
The OK Corral ceremony will serve as a highlight for the 14 th annual Arizona Library Legislative Day, an opportunity to celebrate the important role that libraries play in our local communities. Library advocates will be at the Capitol beginning at 9 a.m., and will meet with legislators and rally on the Capitol lawn to communicate the critical needs that libraries serve. That includes acting as a portal to information, both online and in print, as well as assisting with the archival of state records.
The newly-uncovered OK Corral documents were found March 31 as a pair of Cochise County Superior Court clerks were re-organizing exhibits in an old jail storage space at the courthouse in Bisbee. They noticed a box marked “Juvenile,” and saw some manila envelopes marked “Keep.” The date: 1881. Inspecting closer, they saw that the documents were quite old and brought them to a supervisor.
Cochise County could have chosen to retain possession of the papers, but Superior Court Clerk Denise Lundin opted to have them transferred to Arizona State Archives, in Phoenix .
“We are record-keepers, not archivists,” she said. “We have neither the resources nor the expertise to properly handle these important and valuable documents. They are bigger than Cochise County , and the state of Arizona should have custody as they are part of our state's heritage.”
The documents will be housed at the Polly Rosenbaum Archives building, where state-of-the-art temperature and humidity controls will help ensure their preservation for posterity.