Texas Speakers Oral History Collection
Floor of the Texas House of Representatives at the close of the 58th legislative session, May 1963. Russell Lee Photograph Collection, e_rl_0309.
In November 2003, in cooperation with Speaker Tom Craddick and his wife Mrs. Nadine Craddick, the Briscoe Center launched "A Speaker from Its Own Members: A Project Documenting the History of the Speakers of the Texas House of Representatives." From its inception to April 2005, Briscoe Center historians Dr. Patrick Cox and Dr. Michael Phillips interviewed then Speaker Craddick and nine former Texas House speakers. Many of the project's interviews can be heard on this site.
The Speaker of the Texas House, along with the governor and the lieutenant governor, ranks among the three most powerful officeholders in Texas politics, yet Speakers in the Texas House have enjoyed relatively limited visibility. Few Texans are fully aware of the office's significance. The most comprehensive collection on Speakers of the Texas House of Representatives is housed at the Briscoe Center for American History. The collection includes a rich primary source archive
and oral history collection
of the individuals who have served as the presiding officer of the Texas House. From this collection, the conflicts and accomplishments that have faced lawmakers come to life in a firsthand account from House Speakers who have served from the 1950s to the current era.TARO finding aid
During his speakership, Barnes placed a high priority on the state's colleges and universities, minimum wage, clean air and water, and the creation of the Texas Rehabilitation Commission.
Clayton first won the House speakership in 1975 and in 1979 became the first person to win three consecutive terms in that office.
Carr won the election as speaker in 1957, and secured a second term as speaker two years later. Photo courtesy Texas State Library & Archives Commission.
During Mutscher's tenure (1969-1971), the House increased state financial support for higher education, mental health, and other state social services. Photo courtesy Texas State
Library & Archives Commission.
|James A. "Jimmy" Turman|
Turman was elected speaker in 1961, the first speaker ever to hold a doctoral degree. During his speakership, the House Chamber was modernized. Photo courtesy Texas State Library &
Tunnell was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1956, winning election as speaker in 1963. During his speakership, the Legislature created the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and transferred control of what would become the Padre Island National Seashore to the federal government.
|Jim T. Lindsey|
Lindsey was elected speaker in 1955. Much of that session focused on passage of the Texas Business Corporation Act, the first major overhaul of Texas corporation laws in eight decades.
Price focused his short tenure as speaker on reforming House rules to reduce the power of conference committees and to introduce a limited seniority system. Photo courtesy Texas State
Library & Archives Commission.
Senterfitt served seven terms overall, culminating in two consecutive terms as speaker. He became only the second person to serve two consecutive terms in that office. Photo courtesy of
Texas State Library & Archives Commission.