Skip to NavSkip to Content

The University of Texas at Austin

About the Dolph Briscoe Center

Directory - Don Carleton

Portrait of Dr. Don E. Carleton

Dr. Don Carleton has been executive director of The University of Texas at Austin's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History since its creation in 1991. From 1979 until 1991, Dr. Carleton was head of the University's Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center. After earning his doctorate in U. S. history from the University of Houston, Carleton served as founding director of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), an urban history archives project sponsored by Rice University, the University of Houston, and the City of Houston. At HMRC, he established The Houston Review: A Journal of History and Culture of the Gulf Coast.

Dr. Carleton has published and lectured extensively in the fields of historical research methods and sources, the history of broadcast journalism, and Twentieth Century U.S. political history. He has worked as an historical consultant and lecturer in Nicaragua, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Israel, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania.

Dr. Carleton's book Red Scare (Texas Monthly Press, 1985) won the Texas State Historical Association’s Coral Tullis Award for the most important book on Texas published in 1985. His book, A Breed So Rare: The Life of J. R. Parten, Liberal Texas Oil Man, 1896–1992 (Texas State Historical Association, 1998) received the Texas Institute of Letters award for the book written by a Texan in 1998 that has made the greatest contribution to knowledge. Dr. Carleton’s most recent book is Conversations with Cronkite (University of Texas Press, 2010). Other publications include Back Where We Started: A Brief History of Houston (Menil Publications, Houston, 1979), co-authored with Thomas H. Kreneck; Who Shot the Bear? J. Evetts Haley and the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center (Wind River Press, Austin, TX, 1984); Being Rapoport: Capitalist with a Conscience (University of Texas Press, 2002); Ross Sterling, Texan: A Memoir by the Founder of Humble Oil and Refining Company (University of Texas Press, 2007); Dolph Briscoe: My Life in Texas Ranching and Politics (Center for American History, 2008); and Big Red: Memoirs of a Texas Entrepreneur and Philanthropist (The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 2010). Dr. Carleton also has published numerous articles in professional journals, magazines, and newspapers and he serves as editor of the Focus on American History Series of the University of Texas Press. He was the Executive Producer of the award-winning historical video documentary When I Rise, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2010 ( He also was the Executive Producer of the recently completed documentary film, Cactus Jack: The Political Legacy of John Nance Garner (2013).

Dr. Carleton was an historical advisor to novelist James A. Michener for his novel Texas (Random House, 1986). He also was a researcher and historical advisor for former CBS newsman and anchor Walter Cronkite's best selling memoir A Reporter’s Life (Knopf, 1996). From 1995 until 1997, he was an historical consultant for the Cronkite-Ward Company for a series of documentaries on the Discovery Channel. He served as the principal curator for the major exhibit Cronkite: Eyewitness to a Century, which was displayed at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin in 2010. Dr. Carleton has been a historical commentator for several television documentaries including JFK: Breaking the News, produced by KERA TV in Dallas (2003); For the Sake of the Song, produced by Fair Retail Films (2010); and The President’s Photographer, produced by the National Geographic Television Channel (2010). He served from 1996 until 2009 as an Oral Historian and Advisory Board member for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Foundation's "Pioneers of Television" project for which he conducted video taped in-depth biographical interviews with more than two dozen major figures in the history of broadcast news, including David Brinkley, Andy Rooney, Ed Bradley, Barbara Walters, Jim Lehrer, and Daniel Schorr, all of which are available on YouTube.

Dr. Carleton holds the University’s J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History. Listed in Who’s Who in America, he is a trustee of the Sam Rayburn Foundation and a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, Dr. Carleton also has been honored with membership in The Texas Institute of Letters, the Austin Headliners Club, and the Philosophical Society of Texas.

Return to staff directory