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THM to Host Plaque Unveiling Ceremony for Wilma McDaniel

The Tulare Historical Museum will be hosting a Literary Landmark Plaque Unveiling Ceremony in honor of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, Poet Laureate of Tulare, California. The event will be held in the museum’s Heritage Art Gallery on Sat., Nov. 19 from 12-2:30pm.

The program schedule will include a BBQ tri-tip and chicken lunch with accompanying live musical entertainment by Juni Fisher from 12-1pm, a formal program with guest speakers Karen Neurohr of Oklahoma State University, Betty Blanks, Ellen Gorelick, Lillian Vallee, and Trudy Wischemann from 1-2pm, and a Redwood High School documentary screening and Literary Landmark plaque unveiling from 2-2:30pm.

A Literary Landmark is a site that is dedicated to a deceased literary figure, author, or his or her work. The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites. There are currently only five Literary Landmarks in the state of California and the Tulare City Historical Museum is honored to be the chosen site of the sixth declared landmark. This declaration holds additional historic significance as Wilma McDaniel will be announced as the very first female Literary Landmark recipient in the state of California.

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel was born on December 22, 1918, in Stroud, Oklahoma and began writing at just eight years of age. Her family was forced from Oklahoma by the Great Depression and made their way to California in search of survival. Ms. McDaniel's descriptive prose at times describe the towns and people from her collective experiences in Oklahoma, before and after she arrived in California.

As the standing Poet Laureate of Tulare, California, McDaniel’s poetry has been praised, by novelist James D. Houston as "absolutely unique and magical." Gerald Haslam, Ph.D. said, "Ms. McDaniel is arguably the finest poet to have emerged from the Oklahoma Dustbowl exodus."

Local historian, Linda Ruminer, describes Wilma's poetry as unique. “Her ability to pare down experiences that transform readers in the telling, alludes to her power through minimal language use for maximum literary impact. She is not wordy or verbose, yet many of the images she vividly conjures through her poetry are striking, if not breathtaking.”

THM would like to thank its event partners, Tulare County Historical Society, Tulare County Library Foundation, and United for Libraries.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact us at or 559-686-2074.

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