Baylor University Poage Library

Archive History


Bob Bullock was a native Texan first and last, one who loved the state and its heritage and recognized the need to preserve its history. A second generation Texan, he began to put that love for the state and its people to work with his early service on the State Historical Commission in the 1960s. His love for Texas and its history carried over to influence the preservation of his own records and the legacy of the 40 years he served the state.
With the opening of the Bullock Archive in Summer 2004, scholars, researchers and future generations of Texans will be able to study Bob Bullock: the master statesman, politician and campaigner.

Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock decided early in his first term as Lieutenant Governor to give his personal and campaign papers, memorabilia and state records in trust to Baylor University, in accordance with an agreement with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Governor Bullock earned his law degree at Baylor University in 1958, had close ties to the Baylor administration and served on the board of the Baylor School of Medicine.

Governor Bullock, as he was generally known, also donated microfilm copies of his state records and bound volumes of his press releases and speeches to the University of Texas System and two other state colleges he attended: Hill College in his hometown of Hillsboro and Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He also deposited copies of his microfilmed records to two other colleges for which he had special affection: Blinn College in Brenham and Texas A&M University International in Laredo, both of which have buildings named in his honor.

The first transfer of records began in 1993 because of storage problems resulting from renovation of the state Capitol building. In organizing the materials for Bullock's gift to Baylor, his office and campaign staffs set up five general categories to classify records to be sent to the Baylor: campaign, comptroller, lieutenant governor, media, or personal.
Campaign records were sent to Baylor as the campaign office moved into new headquarters and as files were closed in the final years of Bullock's terms as lieutenant governor. Included in these files were campaign and fund raising records and brochures. Campaign records were not microfilmed.

Lieutenant governor records were microfilmed, boxed and sent to Baylor. Bullock's staff microfilmed the records, returned them to archive boxes and filled out State Library inventory sheets that accompanied the microfilm to the State Library for processing. The State Library retained the original microfilm record to meet the records retention schedule required by state law. Copies were made for Bullock to keep in his administration office for later transfer to Baylor, the State Archives and the other repositories where the Lt. Governor donated his papers.

Media records which were microfilmed and inventoried included press releases, speeches and newspaper and magazine clippings. Hard copies, including bound volumes and notebooks, were later shipped to Baylor.

Personal memorabilia donated by Bullock to Baylor were inventoried and assigned a number. These included his cartoon collection, souvenirs from campaigns, gavel collection, books, awards, certificates and gifts from friends, family and supporters. These items have been incorporated into the Personal Series.

While most of these records are open to the public beginning in July 2004, there are still materials in the collection, especially in correspondence, which will always be subject to the state's privacy laws. Therefore, some records may be withheld from the public after prior review by collection archivists at Baylor Collections of Political Materials, the Bullock Archive, the State Archives and at any of the other schools and universities holding Bullock papers.

Bullock's materials fall into the major categories of correspondence, speeches, media, campaign, the press, news clippings, audio tapes and videos, personal papers and memorabilia. The largest of these is correspondence.

Correspondence

From early in his political career, when Bullock was campaigning or making speeches across the state, he routinely gathered names of people he visited, met and even those he did not have the time to meet. While on the road, Bullock would call in to administrative staff the names of those Texans, with recommendations for letters to be drafted to them. When he returned to his state and campaign offices, finished letters awaited his signature. It was not uncommon for a Texan to meet Bob Bullock one day and receive a letter from him two days later. This epitomizes the importance Bob Bullock placed on communication with his fellow Texans.

There are few correspondence records from Bullock's years as Comptroller of Public Accounts, because these records remained in the office as part of the Comptroller's taxpayer records and most taxpayer records remain confidential under state law. Most of the Comptroller records are tax issue and policy papers, research projects and administrative papers.

When Comptroller Bullock was elected Lieutenant Governor, he brought to the Capitol his executive correspondence system which was cloned by other state officials. This logging system tracked correspondence from its receipt to any outgoing letters, and kept a history of any prior communication with that Texan. The database was linked to campaign correspondence office records.

In correspondence where the lines between politics and public service issues were blurred, responses were printed on "Not Printed at State Expense" stationery. Bullock covered the cost of stationery and postage.

Communication with everyday Texans was always important to Bullock, but he also recognized the potential and the power of the press.

Bob Bullock and The Press

No one understood the role of the media in government and politics better than Bob Bullock. He might not always like some members of the press, and sometimes said so, but he rarely ignored them.

He had few press conferences as Comptroller or as Lieutenant Governor, but his press officers and his news releases spoke to Texans for him. Most calls, questions and requests from the press were directed to his press office and relayed to Bullock as quickly as possible. As Lieutenant Governor, Bullock regularly made himself available to media representatives assigned to the press table near his podium in the Senate Chamber after he gaveled each day's session to a close.

Bullock recognized early in his career the value of the press. When he became Comptroller in 1975, an important part of his administration was to begin diligent collection of state sales taxes. He discovered too many businesses in Texas collected the state sales taxes from their customers but failed to report and remit those taxes to the state. As part of a "voluntary compliance" campaign, Bullock would invite the press to Comptroller visits to businesses who owed significant amounts of state sales taxes. Armed with estimates of past due taxes, Bullock and Comptroller enforcement officers would arrive unannounced at a business and ask for payment of back taxes. If the business owners did not pay, enforcement officers would seize inventory and cash registers. These raids on delinquent businesses spawned cartoons, editorials and invaluable press coverage, including some suggestions that Bullock was grandstanding. But the statewide press coverage of "Bullock's Raiders" made important and valuable impressions on delinquent taxpayers and on the average tax paying Texan.

News releases in the Archive cover 28 years, 1971-1998, from campaigns and three state-wide offices held by Bullock. It was Governor Bullock's habit to have his press releases and speeches bound at the end of each year for his personal library. At the end of his political career, Governor Bullock had additional copies bound for the schools that would receive his papers.

New releases meant news coverage. Bullock collected that coverage along with any other news and magazine articles that dealt with taxes, the economy, state and national government and politics. The collection includes years of newspaper clippings from both the Comptroller's and the Lt. Governor's offices.

The Newspaper Clippings

Bob Bullock was a voracious reader! Each day before he left the office, staff prepared an archive box of reading materials that included state reports, staff memos, telephone and mail logs, magazines and news clipping compilations.

As proof that he was reading everything, staff could and would get calls any time of the day or night asking questions about specific articles and ideas and making requests for more information. One of his favorite practices at the Comptroller's and the Lieutenant Governor's offices included a dictation or answering machine operation that allowed him to call in at all hours to give instructions and dictate memos and letters.

Bullock was famous for his news clipping service. It was standard in the Comptroller's and the Lt. Governor's offices to have press office staff read newspapers and clip articles that related to government and politics from all the state daily newspapers, most of the weeklies and major U.S. papers.

News clippings about Bullock and his office were placed first in the news summary. The significance of this is that it provides a complete set of all published news stories, pictures and cartoons about Bob Bullock as Comptroller, Lieutenant Governor and candidate.
Bullock was a favorite subject for political cartoons, and almost all those published in magazines and newspapers are in the Bullock clip files. It was Bullock's practice to contact the artists and purchase the cartoons that featured him, even if they were not flattering. He kept framed enlargements of these cartoons at his home, at his state office and at the campaign office. Bullock also donated a number of these framed cartoons to the Bullock collection at Hill College in Hillsboro.

Like the news clippings and the press releases, the Bullock Collection also includes almost all the speeches Bob Bullock ever made.

The Speech Collection

Throughout his 40 years of public service to Texas, Bob Bullock was sought out as a public speaker. Speeches were an important part of getting his message out as an officeholder and candidate. Though he did not particularly like public speaking, he was good at it. His speeches often used Texas history and the stories of average Texans to make a point or weave a story.

Bob Bullock's speeches are published in 26 bound volumes and on four microfilm reels in the collections at Baylor. Like the press releases, the State Archives and five state colleges have the speeches on microfilm, though some of the colleges also have the bound volumes.

Along with speeches, press releases and news clippings, the Bullock Collection includes photographic, audio and video coverage of Bob Bullock throughout his life and years of public service.

The Tapes and Videos

Bob Bullock was photographed, taped and recorded throughout his career. The Bullock Collection documents this well.

The earliest photographs of Bullock are featured in the family scrapbooks and baby books Ruth Mitchell Bullock kept for her youngest son. These original scrapbooks are part of the personal donations to the collection.

The thousands of photographs in the collection include those published by the media, official portraits of Bullock and his family, amateur and professional photo coverage of special events like campaigns or awards ceremonies and many of the daily photographs of Senate sessions taken by Senate Media Services.

Besides state papers, the Bullock Collection includes many records and materials from his campaigns over the years.

Campaign Materials

Bullock maintained a full-time campaign office, at various Austin locations, for almost 20 years. State campaign laws and his experiences early in his term as Comptroller taught him the wisdom of keeping political and state officeholder operations separate.

A small campaign staff ran a mail, scheduling, fundraising and administrative office year round. During election years, the staff was reinforced with enough paid workers and volunteers to run the effective political campaigns that made Bullock's reputation as a formidable opponent. In addition, there was usually a network of hundreds of volunteers in counties all over the state, coordinating campaign stops, fundraisers and press conferences.

When he was Comptroller and Lt. Governor, Bullock hosted an annual fundraising reception for as many as a thousand supporters and friends that was first class in promotion and execution. In addition to the invitations to these receptions, the collection contains the one-of-a-kind souvenirs or mementos that were given to every guest and became a hallmark of the Bullock fundraisers. These items include personalized pens, lapel pins, paperweights, gavels, neck scarves and even a Bullock drawing commissioned from Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ben Sargent. These, along with many of the gifts to him from friends and supporters, make up some of the richest treasures in the collection.

Personal Materials

The Bullock Collection includes hundreds of donated personal items from Bullock himself, from his wife, Jan, and from friends and former staff who want the legacy of this modern-day Texas hero preserved for generations of researchers.

Over his career, Bullock was honored with dozens of awards by national, state, civic and government organizations and associations. With each award came certificates, plaques and trophies Bullock treasured. Most of them are in the collection, along with his education and law degrees, military records and the commissions for each of the offices he held during his 40 years of state service.

Some of the treasures in the memorabilia are the personal photographs and family scrapbooks kept by Bullock's mother, family letters and correspondence and genealogical materials compiled by Bullock and his older brother, Tom. These items give a personal insight into where this Texas legend came from and gives a careful researcher a good idea of the "how and why" of the way Bullock earned his place in Texas history.


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