University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Ross Shaw Sterling Papers, 1930-1939



Descriptive Summary

Creator Sterling, Ross S., 1875-1949
Title Ross Shaw Sterling Papers
Dates: 1930-1939
Abstract Correspondence, campaign material, scrapbooks, and photographs comprise the Ross Shaw Sterling Papers, 1930-1939, documenting Sterling’s term as governor of Texas (1931-1933).
OCLC Record No. 22966173
Extent 12 ft., 10 in.
Language English
Repository University of Texas at Austin, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Biographical Note

Texas Governor Ross Shaw Sterling (1875-1949) was born to Benjamin Franklin and Mary Jane (Bryan) Sterling near Anahuac, Texas. He spent his early career in farming and business, and then entered the banking industry. In 1898, he married Maud Abbie Gage, with whom he had five children. In 1910, Sterling purchased two oil wells and developed the Humble Oil and Refining Company. He sold his interests in the company in 1925 and entered real estate development in the Houston area. In 1925-1926, he purchased the Houston Dispatch and Post, merging them to create the Houston Dispatch-Post. Sterling served as chairman of the Texas Highway Commission in 1930 and was inaugurated governor of Texas a year later. Confronting agricultural and oil emergencies due to the Great Depression, he declared martial law in four counties in East Texas to shut down oil production. The courts later ruled this declaration unconstitutional. After not being re-elected in 1933, Sterling returned to Houston, where he directed the Sterling Oil and Refining Company until 1946. He was also president of the American Maid Flour Mills and the R. S. Sterling Investment Company, as well as chairman of the Houston National Bank.

Source:

“Sterling, Ross Shaw,” The Handbook of Texas. Accessed September 19, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst42.


Scope and Contents

Correspondence, campaign material, scrapbooks, and photographs comprise the Ross Shaw Sterling Papers, 1930-1939, documenting Sterling’s term as governor of Texas (1931-1933), including his gubernatorial campaign, his proclamation of martial law in East Texas, voting irregularities, and subsequent lawsuit during his unsuccessful race for a second term as governor in 1932.


 

Organization

Organized into eight series: 1. General correspondence. 2. Classified correspondence. 3. Campaign material. 4. Voting irregularities. 5. Scrapbooks. 6. Financial records and miscellany. 7. Literary productions. 8. Photographs.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged into eight series:
  • I. General correspondence
  • II. Classified correspondence
  • III. Campaign material
  • IV. Voting irregularities
  • V. Scrapbooks
  • VI. Financial records and miscellany
  • VII. Literary productions
  • VIII. Photographs

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Sterling, Ross S., 1875-1949 -- Archives.
Subjects (Organizations)
Democratic Party (Tex.)--Photographs.
Democratic Party (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century.
Subjects
Elections -- Texas.
Martial law -- Texas.
Politicians -- Texas.
Aeronautics -- Photographs.
Elections -- Photographs.
Politicians -- Photographs.
Politics, Practical -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
Places
Texas -- Governors -- History -- 20th century.
Texas -- Governors -- Election.
United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century -- Sources.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Ross Shaw Sterling Papers, 1930-1939, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Angela Olivera, May 1986.

Subsequent revisions were made by Shelley Rowland, November 2008, and Evan Usler, September 2011.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Inventory

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3F45 General correspondence:
1/1/1930-12/18/1930
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3F46 12/19/1930-1/14/1931
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3F47 1/15/1931-2/28/1931
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3F48 3/1/1931-4/15/1931
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3F49 4/16/1931-6/14/1931
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3F50 6/15/1931-8/17/1931
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3F51 8/18/1931-10/31/1931
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3F52 11/1/1931-1/31/1932
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3F53 5/1/1932-4/30/1932
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3F54 5/1/1932-6/22/1932
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3F55 6/23/1932-7/31/1932
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3F56 8/1/1932-8/31/1932
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3F57 9/1/1932-10/20/1932
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3F58 10/21/1932-1/31/1933
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3F59 Classified correspondence, 1931-1932
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3F60 Campaign material:
Mailing lists by counties, 1932
Anderson - Eastland
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3F61 Edwards - Hunt
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3F62 Jackson - McLennan
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3F63 Nacogdoches - Young
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3F64 Voting irregularities:
Sterling vs. Ferguson, 1932:
Lists and correspondence
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3F65 Lists and correspondence
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3F66 County lists:
Anderson - Gillespie
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3F67 Grayson - Presidio
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3F68 Rusk - Wise; County reports of unqualified voters.
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3F69 Transcripts of hearings, pp. 413-1562
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4M579 Sterling vs. Ferguson, transcript
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3F70 Scrapbooks:
November 29, 1930-June, 1931
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3F71 July, 1931-October, 1932; April 29, 1939, and undated
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4M580 Miscellaneous articles
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3F72 Financial Records and Miscellany, 1931-1932 and undated
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3H162 Literary productions
"Sterling-Texan: A Biography of Ross S. Sterling," by Ed Kilman, undated.
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3S3 Photographs