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The University of Texas at Austin


 Center for American History Icon Ramona Kelly
Associate Director
Center for American History
(512) 495-4696


AUSTIN, TEXAS – April 25, 2007 – The Center for American History will launch a new Web site, the Texas House Speakers Oral History Project, on Monday, April 30. The site contains extensive documentation on the individuals who have served as Speaker of the Texas House as well as biographies and resources on every Texas House Speaker in the state's history. "From William E. Crump, the first House Speaker in 1846, to Tom Craddick, the current Texas House Speaker, this Web site contains the most extensive information on the history of the people who have shaped the history of our state," stated Dr. Don Carleton, director of the Center for American History.

Floor of the Texas House of Representatives, 1963.

Floor of the Texas House of Representatives, 1963. Lee (Russell) Photograph Collection, Center for American History; E_RL_0309.

In November 2003, in cooperation with Speaker Tom Craddick and his wife, Mrs. Nadine Craddick, the Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin launched "A Speaker from Its Own Members: A Project Documenting the History of the Speakers of the Texas House of Representatives." Center for American History historians Dr. Patrick Cox and Dr. Michael Phillips interviewed Speaker Craddick and nine former Texas House Speakers: Reuben Senterfitt, Jim T. Lindsey, James "Jimmy" Turman, Ben Barnes, Gus Mutscher, Rayford Price, Bill Clayton, Gibson D. "Gib" Lewis, and Pete Laney. In addition, Mrs. Craddick and Nelda Laney, wife of former Speaker Pete Laney, were interviewed for this series. These interviews are now part of the Texas House Speakers Collection at the Center for American History.

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. A list of resources ranging from books, manuscripts, archival resources, photographs, recordings and videos at the University of Texas are included in the bibliographic guide for each Speaker. In addition, general publications and information on the Speaker's office are included on the site.  "Researchers of all ages will find the information in these pages useful, from basic biographical information to sources for further in-depth research, stated Linda Newland who designed the site.

As an organized research unit of The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for American History facilitates, sponsors, and supports teaching, research, and public education.  In support of its mission, the Center acquires, preserves, and makes available for research archival, artifact, and rare book collections and sponsors exhibitions, conferences, web sites, documentaries, oral history projects, grant-funded research, and publications.

Inquiries about this project may be directed to Dr. Patrick Cox, associate director for Congressional Collections, at (512) 495-4515, or