The south wing of the Old Will Rogers Library is the Lynn Riggs Memorial. Rollie Lynn Riggs was born in 1899, 3 miles southwest of Claremore in Indian Territory. He became an internationally famous author and playwright of "Green Grow the Lilacs", from which the musical "Oklahoma!" was adapted by Rodgers & Hammerstein. The play, set in 1900 in Claremore, is a vibrantly descriptive and colorful tale of life in Indian Territory. Lynn's mother died when he was two years old. As a child, he often visited his Aunt Mary, and she became the basis for the character, "Aunt Eller" in the play...even down to the butter churn and sassafras tea.
In his Oklahoma plays, Riggs depicts primitive Oklahoma people and writes authentic Oklahoma dialect with wonderful spirit and rhythm. Many of the characters were based upon his own family and close friends from the Claremore area. The play provided an outlet for eleven cowboy and folk songs that Riggs remembered from his youth. According to Oscar Hammerstein, "I should like to go on record as saying that Mr. Riggs' play is the well-spring of almost all that is good in Oklahoma. I kept many of the lines of the original play without making any changes in them at all for the simple reason that they could not be improved on...Lynn Riggs and Green Grow The Lilacs are the very soul of "Oklahoma!"
Lynn Riggs died in 1954 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. The Lynn Riggs Memorial houses the original surrey with the fringe on top from the movie, "Oklahoma!"
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