Former Governor Dolph Briscoe and his wife Janey Slaughter Briscoe, a former regent of The University of Texas System, have donated their papers to The University’s Center for American History.
The Briscoe Papers measure more than 1,000 linear shelf feet in size and are divided into two groups. The first consists of the personal and business records of the Briscoe family, including papers documenting the career of Dolph Briscoe Sr. (1890–1954), a prominent Uvalde rancher and businessman. The second and largest portion of this group consists of correspondence, photographs, news clippings, publications, legal and business records, memorabilia, and other materials relating to the career of Dolph Briscoe (1923– ) prior to his election as Governor of Texas in 1972. These materials include extensive information about Briscoe’s activities as a rancher, oilman, banker, civic leader, and member of the Texas House of Representatives (1949–1957). Because Briscoe was a prominent Democratic party activist for more than twenty years prior to his election as governor, his papers for that period contain important correspondence with Lyndon B. Johnson; Governor Price Daniel; Congressmen Jack Brooks, O. C. Fisher, Omar Burleson, and Henry B. Gonzales; Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn; Lloyd Bentsen; and other leading Democrats.
Briscoe’s personal papers also include much documentation of his unsuccessful first campaign for governor in 1968. Of special research value are materials documenting Briscoe’s leadership in the effort to restore grassland in Southwest Texas and to develop water and soil conservation techniques. Other activities documented include his leadership in the campaign to eradicate the screwworm and other parasitic threats to the cattle industry.
The second group of Briscoe Papers consists entirely of Dolph Briscoe’s official records as Governor of Texas (1973–1979). Briscoe’s gubernatorial records, which are public documents owned by the State of Texas, have been placed on permanent deposit at The University by the Texas State Library. The records of Briscoe’s years as governor provide documentation important for research in such issues and events as the energy crisis of 1973, death penalty and penal code reform, public school finance, the Fred Carrasco prison hostage tragedy, state coordination of higher education, teenage runaways, the state constitutional convention of 1974, taxation, and state-federal relations. The collection is also rich in materials documenting Briscoe’s appointments to state boards and commissions and his ceremonial duties as Governor.
The Briscoe papers are an invaluable historical resource that will benefit scholarly research in a wide range of subject areas. They take their place among similar collections at the Center for American History such as the papers of governors Oran M. Roberts, James S. Hogg, Oscar Colquitt, and Ross Sterling. Other related collections at the Center include the official archive of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers’ Association (of which Dolph Briscoe Sr. and Dolph Briscoe Jr. both served as leaders), the John Nance Garner Collection, the papers of Senators Ralph Yarborough and Lloyd Bentsen, the papers of Congressmen Sam Rayburn and Joe Kilgore, the Jesse H. Jones Papers, the Michael L. Gillette Papers, the Frances “Sissy” Farenthold Papers, the official archive of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, and the Bernard Rapaport Papers. The complete finding aid can be found on the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) website. Portions of this collection are stored remotely, so advance notice is required to look at the collection.
Executive and Administrative Assistants’ files
Appointments correspondence arranged alphabetically by Board or Commission
Newspaper clippings arranged by year and by topic
General correspondence arranged by year, name, and topic
Press Office files, including speeches, press releases, and proclamations
Judicial appointments correspondence
Booklets, pamphlets, brochures, and other printed material on various topics
Bills introduced in the Texas House and Senate
Southern Governors’ and National Governors’ conferences
Letters from children
Miscellaneous files arranged by year
Invitations and birthday greetings
Briscoe for Governor and other campaign records
Governor’s Mansion files
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Mrs. Janey Briscoe’s files
Schedules for Governor and Mrs. Briscoe
Photographs and artifacts