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The University of Texas at Austin

Exhibits

Congressional & Political - Creekmore Fath Papers - Gallery

Creekmore Fath

Creekmore Fath.

Creekmore Fath was born in Oklahoma in 1916 and grew up in Cisco and Fort Worth, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, studying economics and law. There, he met life-long friends Bernard Rapoport and Bob Eckhardt. Graduating from law school in 1937, Fath opened a private practice with Eckhardt in Austin. In 1939, Fath relocated in Washington D.C., where he served as council to the House Select Committee on migration, head of the Cartel Division of the Board of Economic Warfare, and as special assistant to Julius Krug, Secretary of the Interior. Fath left the Department of the Interior in 1947 to serve as assistant to the executive director of the Democratic National committee. In 1948, Fath married Adele Hay Byrne and returned to Austin to resume his private practice.

Fath could never stray far from politics. Shortly after returning to Austin, he ran for U. S. Congress, but came up short in the Democratic primaries. Nevertheless, he immersed himself in Texas politics and became vice chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. In 1957, Fath cofounded the Democrats of Texas as the liberal opposition to the conservative "Dixiecrat" leadership of the Texas Democrats under Allan Shivers and Lyndon Johnson. Fath returned to Washington in the early 60s to work with Ralph Yarborough on the Senate Freedom of Information subcommittee, regulating equal media exposure of media candidates. In 1972 and 1974, he managed Francis Farenthold's unsuccessful campaigns for Governor of Texas.

Throughout his life, Fath was an avid collector of books and art and owned the largest private collection of Thomas Hart Benton lithographs in the world. He wrote a book on Benton's work, originally published by the University of Texas Press in 1969.

Documenting Fath's varied personal, professional, and political pursuits, the Creekmore Fath Papers, [circa 1920s-2000s], consist of 43 ft. of material, organized into nine series. The larger of series comprise memoranda, correspondence, newspaper articles, and other paper records concerning Fath's participation in the Democrats of Texas, his work in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, major political campaigns in which he was involved, and his personal papers containing correspondence, articles, papers, and photographs. Smaller series cover his legal papers, the Tidelands controversy, the Young Democrats, and the Freedom of Information subcommittee.

This online gallery includes print and photographic material from the larger series in the collection, including the Democrats of Texas, political campaigns, the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, and Fath's personal papers. The selections track Fath from his time as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin through his service in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, his campaign for Congress and subsequent involvement in the Texas Democratic Party, and his participation on the Farenthold Gubernatorial campaigns. Also featured are portraits of the some of the many connections Fath developed over his long career in politics.