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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Questers Aim to Preserve History

By EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

ORGANIZATION VALUES HISTORY: Members of the area Questers chapters stand at the Pawnee Bill Mansion in Pawnee, Oklahoma, which was the home of Wild West entertainer Pawnee Bill and his wife. The area Questers have spent close to $6,500 to create and install early-era light fixtures on the mansion’s front porch and to restore a painting of Pawnee Bill’s wife, May Lillie.



The Questers was founded by Jessie Elizabeth Bardens in 1944 in Pennsylvania. For the group’s first meeting, Bardens asked 14 people to bring a sandwich and an antique, notes Sharon Scott, first vice president of the Oklahoma State Questers.

When asked how to define a “quester,” Bardens replied: “A Quester is a socially well-adjusted intelligent person who has curiosity, enthusiasm, imagination and a good memory.

“Without memory, we have no past and without imagination, no future.”

Therefore, the International Questers focus is on the preservation, restoration, and education of antiquities and historic buildings and sites.

The organization has chapters within 43 states in addition to two chapters in Canadian provinces, with a total of approximately 10,000 members.

Oklahoma has seven total chapters in Bartlesville, Claremore, Edmond and Tulsa. Tulsa is home to three Questers chapters.

Scott has been a member of one of the Tulsa chapters for about 15 years.

Projects her chapter has been involved with include the home of Gordon W. “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, known as the Pawnee Bill Mansion, located in Pawnee, Oklahoma.

Pawnee Bill was a Wild West entertainer who completed his 14-room home in Pawnee in 1910.

The Tulsa chapter, with the help of the other local chapters, spent close to $6,500 to create and install early-era light fixtures on the mansion’s front porch and to restore a painting of Pawnee Bill’s wife, May Lillie.

While many individuals may view the Questers as a group focused on antiques, “this is also about restoration and preservation of historic buildings,” says Scott.

The chapters also hold monthly meetings focused on historic or antiquity subjects.
For more information on joining an area Questers chapter, email sscottsphr@cox.net. To learn more about the International Questers, visit questers1944.org.

Updated 12-10-2017

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