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The University of Texas at Austin


Center for American History Announces Acquisition of Congressman Jack Brooks Collection

March 24, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Don Carleton, executive director of the Center for American History, announced the acquisition of the papers of Congressman Jack Brooks.

Congressman Jack Brooks speaking at the announcement of the donation of his papers to the Center. Photo by Charles Bogel, March 2008. Courtesy of the LBJ Library and Museum.

Congressman Jack Brooks speaking at the announcement of the donation of his papers to the Center. Photo by Charles Bogel, March 2008. Courtesy of the LBJ Library and Museum.

"The donation of Congressman Jack Brooks papers is an invaluable addition to the Center's extensive Congressional and Political History Collection," said Dr. Carleton. "Congressman Brooks played an integral role in shaping our national policy from the Cold War era of the 1950s to the global economy of the 1990s. His papers will provide historians and researchers with information on the critical issues the nation faced in the second half of the twentieth century."

Jack Brooks of Beaumont, Texas, represented the Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1953 through 1966, and the Ninth Congressional District from 1967 through 1995. As a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Brooks helped write the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He played a major role during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard M. Nixon.

"I am pleased that my years of Congressional life are now joining the papers of so many other former members of Congress at the Center for American History," said Congressman Brooks. "These papers will now be maintained, indexed and made available to historians and other people around the country who come to research the Center's Congressional collections."

The Brooks Congressional Collection includes photographs, legislation, correspondence, research materials, memorabilia, official documents and campaign materials that span Brooks' career. The material will be accessible to researchers once processed and housed.

The announcement was made at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, and was attended by Congressman Brooks; former Gov. Dolph Briscoe; Larry Temple, president of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation; Dean James B. Steinberg, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs; and former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes.

"During his five decades of congressional service, Jack earned national recognition for his role in passing civil rights and voting rights legislation and as one of the most ferocious watchdogs over government spending and operations," said Brooks's longtime friend, Gov. Dolph Briscoe. "He literally has saved American taxpayers billions of dollars through his actions in improving government efficiency and eliminating waste."

"Jack Brooks had a storied 42-year career in the United States Congress," said Larry Temple, president of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation, which facilitated the donation of the Brooks papers to the Center. "A protégé of legendary Speaker Sam Rayburn and a longtime colleague of Lyndon Johnson, Jack was always an activist and a leader in Congress who got things done."

A listing of all of the landmark legislation that Jack authored or helped pass would consume an entire yellow tablet," Temple continued. "The Center for American History—a neighbor of the LBJ Library—is the right home for these papers. We are all in the debt of Jack Brooks for his generosity in making them available."

"The kind of political courage and determination that Jack Brooks regularly displayed during his long career is an important model for the future of public officials, and it is why I am very glad that we now have his collection at UT Austin," Dean Steinberg commented.  

"The timing of this contribution is particularly good given that the LBJ School, along with UT's College of Communication, have recently established the Center for Politics and Governance – established primarily to study and understand the nature of effective political leadership, so that we might better cultivate and support that kind of leadership both nationally and internationally.  With the acquisition of The Jack Brooks collection, we are now in an immeasurably better position to pursue this work."

As the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Brooks sponsored significant pieces of legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. He also served as the dean of the Texas Congressional delegation from 1979 to 1995. A graduate of the University of Texas Law School, Brooks served in the Texas Legislature from 1946 to 1950.

The Brooks papers join those of his colleagues in the Center's congressional collections, including Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, U.S. Senators Lloyd Bentsen and Ralph Yarborough, and Congressmen Henry B. Gonzalez, Bill Archer, Bob Eckhardt, Jake Pickle and Bob Krueger.

For more information, contact: Erin Purdy, Associate Director for Communications, Center for American History, 512/495-4692.

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