Christen Massar, Connect!, Vol. 5 No. 1, Winter 2004
Bob Bullock, who is hailed as one of the most influential Texas politicians in modern history, bestowed an invaluable gift to Baylor when he designated the university for the deposition of his state government and personal papers. "Baylor University was important to him because he went to Baylor Law School, and it was near his hometown of Hillsboro," Jan Felts Bullock, the late politician's widow, said. "He thought it was a great educational institution, and he chose it over other places for the deposition of his papers."
In 1993, Bullock began depositing his papers at the Baylor Collections of Political Materials in accordance with an agreement with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The bulk of his papers span from 1972-1999 and document the biggest roles of his career in Texas state government as comptroller and lieutenant governor. His campaign files include materials on issues, opponents, polls, contributors and endorsements, while his personal materials preserved in the archive include family scrapbooks, photo albums and professional portraits.
A permanent endowment for the Bullock Archive is being initiated for the long-term preservation of these historical papers, and fundraising efforts began last fall. The archive fundraising committee, which includes several former Bullock staff members, formulated a novel approach for asking for donations.
In life, Bullock routinely communicated directly to employees and associates with bluntly worded messages printed on distinctive blue stationery. Known as "blue zingers," these messages were infamous in the Capitol in Austin. "I have seen grown men, powerful people in their own right, respond with trembling and cold sweats at the sight of his blue paper," John Paul Moore, longtime Bullock staff member and spokesman, said.
The fundraising committee created a blue zinger to accompany the archive fundraising brochure and commitment card. Written as if coming from Bullock himself, the memo captures his dry humor and gets straight to the point-asking for a donation to preserve the historical materials.
Jan Bullock evidenced grace and good humor by sanctioning the group's approach. "This is just the sort of thing he would appreciate," she said.
Not surprisingly, the unorthodox fundraising approach has been quite successful, and donations are arriving from an array of individuals. Former President George H. W. Bush, Senator Jeffrey Wentworth and former Senators David Sibley and Stan Schlueter have made significant contributions to the archive endowment. The bipartisan nature of the donors signifies how well respected Bullock was by all facets of Texas state government.
Jan Bullock appreciates the friends and former colleagues who are keeping Bullock's legacy alive by providing funds to support the upkeep of the archive. These gifts will ensure the Bullock Archive remains vibrant and alive, serving as a research treasure and teaching tool for scholars and all Texans. "The archive at Baylor gives great insight into a brilliant, complicated, powerful politician and man," she said.