A Guide to the Beckworth (Lindley Garrison) Papers, 1900, 1926-1984
Lindley Garrison Beckworth, 1913-1984, son of Otis Jefferson and Josie (Slaughter) Beckworth, was born in Kaufman County, Texas. In 1931, he graduated from Gilmer High School intent on entering politics. He began teaching in Upshur County, announced his candidacy for the Texas House of Representatives in 1936 and won over five other candidates in the first primary by eight hundred votes. In 1938, Beckworth defeated Morgan G. Sanders, the incumbent of the third Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives. At twenty-five he was the youngest member of Congress elected in the twentieth century. He continued in the House until 1952, when he campaigned for the Senate seat vacated by Tom Connally but lost by a three to one margin. In 1956, he ran for his old congressional seat and won, defeating R. E. Blount. He continued in Congress until 1965 when redistricting threw him into a race with Ray Roberts for the new Fourth District. Beckworth lost the election, but in 1966 he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the U. S. Customs Court where he served until 1968. After practicing law in Longview for a year, he ran for the Texas Senate, second district, defeating Jack Warren. Beckworth served only one term in the state legislature, returning to his law practice in East Texas.
While in Congress, Beckworth was the second ranking Democrat and chairman of the Texas delegation from 1948 to 1952. He served on the Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Post Office and Civil Service, and Foreign Affairs committees, chairing the Subcommittee on Civil Service. Beckworth introduced legislation establishing Camp Fannin near Tyler, Harmon General Hospital in Longview, and the Army Radio Training Program at Tyler Commercial College. While on the Customs Court he handed down seventy-five decisions, and while in the Texas Legislature he wrote a bill authorizing the establishment of Texas Eastern University in Tyler, now the University of Texas at Tyler.
Photographs, sound recordings, campaign literature, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and a graduate thesis comprise the Lindley Garrison Beckworth Papers, 1900, 1926-1984, documenting Beckworth's political career as a U.S. representative, Texas state senator, and judge. Papers include recordings of reports to constituents (1942-1946) and photographs of Beckworth and his family, political figures, presidents, and Texans from the 1940s through the 1970s. Notable examples are photographs of Beckworth with his family at dinner, with his three sons, with members of the Northeast Texas Bar Association, and as a winner of declamation contests while in school. Photographs of the Texas congressional delegation during the Sam Rayburn years (1940-1961) and signed pictures of such notable Texans as Senator Tom Connally, Admiral Chester D. Nimitz, Amon Carter, Wright Patman, Governor Preston Smith, and presidents Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower chronicle influences on Beckworth's career and the associations he made during twenty-eight years in legislative service. A guest register from Beckworth's congressional office (1948-1984) provides biographical information. A small body of letters documents Beckworth's voting record, status as the youngest person elected a U.S. representative in the twentieth century, and support of a state bill regarding rehabilitation eligibility for crippled children. An undated handwritten note deals with Beckworth's advocacy of a firm stand in Vietnam.
Lindley Garrison Beckworth Papers, 1900, 1926-1984, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers