A Guide to the Creekmore Fath Papers, [circa 1920s-2000s]
Born in Oklahoma, Creekmore Fath (1916-2009) grew up in Cisco and Fort Worth, Texas before attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied economics and earned a law degree in 1939. After a year of private practice, Fath moved to Washington, D.C. to serve in the Franklin Roosevelt administration as legal council for the House Select Committee investigating the millions of destitute workers migrating from Oklahoma to California. Fath famously drew attention to the issue by arranging for Eleanor Roosevelt to testify before congress on behalf of the committee.
In 1942, Fath underwent basic training in the U.S. Army and briefly worked in the Office of Strategic Services. He served as legal council for a number of other boards and committees under the Roosevelt Administration, including the Board of Economic Warfare investigating international cartels and the Presidential Advisory Commission. In 1946, he became Special Assistant to Secretary of the Interior J.A. Krug.
In 1947, Fath resigned from his post in the Department of the Interior to become Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). However, his work in the DNC was short-lived, as he married Adele Hay Byrne and returned to Austin that same year, where he reopened his private practice and immersed himself in Texas politics. After unsuccessfully running for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in 1948, he became involved in the Democratic Party in Texas, then the only active political party in the state.y.
During the 1950s, Fath, Frankie Carter Randolph, and other progressive Democrats organized the Democrats of Texas as the liberal opposition to the conservative Dixiecrat rule of the Democratic Party under Allan Shivers and Lyndon Johnson. In 1960, Fath returned to Washington to act as council to the Freedom of Information Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, which enforced media requirements for giving equal time to political candidates. Fath served as chairman for Ralph Yarborough’s Gubernatorial Campaign in 1968, and as Frances Farenthold’s gubernatorial campaign manager in 1972 and 1974.
Fath was a generous donor to political causes and campaigns, with many connections to politicians and activists in Washington and Texas, such as Bernard Rapoport, Robert Eckhardt, and Bill Clinton. As friends of Clinton, Fath and Adele spent the night at the White House in the Lincoln Bedroom in 1997. He also supported the University of Texas and was member of the school’s Liberal Arts Foundation Advisory Council.
An avid collector of books and art, Fath owned the largest private collection of Thomas Hart Benton Lithographs in the world and published a book on Benton’s work entitled The Lithographs of Thomas Hart Benton through the University of Texas Press in 1969.
Composed of correspondence, memos, reports, speeches, flyers, photos, audio recordings, and original artwork, the Creekmore Fath Papers, [circa 1920s–2000s], document Fath’s education at the University of Texas, his work in the Roosevelt administration, his involvement with the Democratic National Committee and Democrats of Texas, numerous political campaigns in which he was involved, his legal practice, and other personal and professional matters, such as his book and art collections.
The Democrats of Texas series, 1940-1980s, covers Fath’s involvement with the organization as vice-chairman, secretary treasurer, and in other capacities. The series is composed of correspondence, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, campaign materials, pamphlets, photographs, and five audio recordings from Yarborough’s 1954 campaign. It is divided into several subseries relating to county organization, committees, elections, special events, and senator Yarborough.
The Campaigns series, 1948, 1960, 1971-1974, documents the Farenthold gubernatorial campaigns of 1972 and 1974 and Fath’s own campaign for U.S. Congress in 1948. The series is composed of press releases, speeches, internal memos and communication, articles, advertisements, campaign finances, donor records, and photographs. It also includes 54 audio recordings from the 1972 Farenthold Campaign.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration series, 1932-1947, comprises materials relating to Roosevelt’s presidential campaigns in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944, as well as the numerous government committees and agencies for which Fath served as legal council, including the Board of Economic Warfare, which investigated international cartels, and the Defense Migration Committee, which investigated the millions of destitute workers moving to California. This series also covers Fath’s service as executive assistant to Secretary of the Interior J. A. Krug. Materials in this series include memos, speeches, reports, advertisements, correspondence, newspaper clippings and photographs.
The Personal Papers series, 1920s-2000s, pertains to Fath’s personal activities and interests such as his education and art collection. The series consists mainly of correspondence, but also includes assorted papers and reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, and original artwork by Bob Eckhardt and other political cartoonists.
Documenting Fath’s private practice, the Legal Papers series, 1950s-1960s, contains records from several organizations for which Fath served as legal council, including ICT Corporation and the Austin Labor Temple Association, as well as client files, court transcripts, and legal documents.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) series, 1940s-1970s, covers Fath’s brief service as executive assistant to the executive director of the DNC, and is composed of correspondence, memos, reports, and newspaper clippings.
The Young Democrats series, 1930s-1960s, consists of material relating to the Young Democrats club that Fath helped to found as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, including correspondence, pamphlets, and publications. Fath maintained ties to the organization well after he graduated.
The Tidelands Controversy series, 1940s-1940s, is composed of material relating to the legal dispute between the federal government and a number of states over rights to coastland. Fath followed the controversy with great interest, preserving articles, reports, correspondence, and his letters to the editors of several newspapers.
The Freedom of Communication Subcommittee series, 1960-1965, documents Fath’s service on the media watchdog subcommittee and the equal coverage laws. It consists of memos, budgets, correspondence between Fath and Yarborough, and senate resolutions.
Access to portions of this collection are restricted. Contact repository for further information.
The majority of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Creekmore Fath Papers, [circa 1920s-2000s], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection revised by Megan Mummey, September 2009, Jeff Warner, August 2012, and Keelee James, January 2013.
Detailed Description of the Papers
For a complete inventory, contact the repository.