John Leedom

Finding Aid | PDF

Headshot of John N. Leedom

John Nesbett Leedom was born in Dallas, Texas on July 27, 1921. He attended Rice University, earned an electrical engineering degree in 1943, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In the 1950’s, Leedom established Wholesale Electronic Supply, Inc., which he ran as CEO. In March 1956, John married his wife of 55 years, Betty Harvey Leedom.

In 1961, Leedom ran for and won a position in the Republican Party as Dallas County Chairman, a position he held for several years. In 1974, Leedom ran for Dallas City Council, where he served until 1980. In 1980, he successfully ran for Texas State Senate, serving on committees such as Education, Economic Development, and State Affairs, among many others. During his time in office, Leedom most famously wrote the Texas “Rainy Day Fund” law. Leedom served as a delegate for the 1976 and 1988 presidential elections, supporting Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush respectively. Throughout his political career, Leedom supported many Republican candidates for office at a local and national level, including Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He retired from the legislature in 1996 and continued work as a lobbyist and author until his death on May 31, 2011.

Craig Pardue, an alumnus of Baylor University, donated the John Leedom papers to the W. R. Poage Legislative Library in April 2022. Like John Leedom, Pardue resided in Dallas, Texas and worked in Texas politics. Pardue, a lobbyist, worked for Dallas County as an Assistant County Administrator of Governmental Affairs for thirty years. Prior to that, he worked for the Texas House of Representatives.

The Collection

The John Leedom papers span nearly 40 years. The earliest documents begin in 1954, and the collection ends with materials related to the campaign and election of President George H. W. Bush in 1989.

The collection is largely composed of documents dealing with the Texas Republican Party, particularly as it relates to Dallas County. The John Leedom papers hold newspaper clippings from the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Herald, amongst many other local publications. The scrapbooks housed notes and correspondence between Leedom and his friends, constituents, and significant political figures including Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Betty Ford, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. As local chair of the Republican Party and a Dallas City Councilor, Leedom also collected materials pertaining to the Republican Party and its operations in the City of Dallas. As Leedom was involved in Texas politics for decades, the collection covers several Republican National Conventions, presidential campaigns, and local Texas elections, including his own.

While most of the collection relates to Leedom's political career, his papers also contain personal family photos, vacation packets, notes and artwork from his children, and several documents from his wife, Betty.

The collection contains 3 document boxes.

University Libraries

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Waco, TX 76798-7148

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