A Guide to the Walter H. Richter Papers, 1936-1937, 1963-2000
Politician and author Walter H. Richter (1916-2003) was born in Marble Falls, Texas and was educated in San Marcos and Austin. After graduating from Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University) in 1938, Richter served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He married Dorothy Jean Sample, with whom he had two children. From 1939 to 1948, Richter was the Director of Journalism and Publications at Southwest Texas State College. He then served as publisher of the Stockdale Star for one year, and later became Executive Director of the Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation, 1955-1961.
Richter served as state senator from Gonzales, 1963-1965, before being appointed by Governor John Bowden Connally as Director of the Texas Office of Economic Opportunity. He had served in this position for one year when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him Director of the Southwest Region Office of Economic Opportunity, spreading his domain beyond Texas to include New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana as well.
Richter taught at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin and simultaneously served on the Community Council of Austin and Travis County, 1969-1970. Governor Preston Smith then appointed Richter Director of a newly-created program, the Texas Program on Drug Abuse (1971-1972) and during this time Richter also served as Vice Chairman of the United States Association of State Drug Abuse Program Directors. Next, Richter worked as a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., (1972-1982) and was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the U.S. Transportation and Architectural Barriers Compliance Board. Richter went on to become a Chairman for the Travis County Democratic Party (1982-1984) and First Deputy of the Texas Department of Agriculture (1983). He also served as Chairman for the Travis County Democratic Party on an emergency basis from 1990 to 1991.
The Walter H. Richter Papers, 1936-1937, 1963-2000, include newspapers, correspondence, speeches, personal notes and articles, photographs, clippings, political campaign materials, commendations and tributes, and Senate committee records. The papers relate to Richter’s career as a state senator, as a Director of the Texas and Southwest Region Offices of Economic Opportunity, as an educator in the University of Texas School of Social Work, and as a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. The papers also contain materials concerning aging, Cerebral Palsy, the War on Poverty, and drug abuse. Furthermore, the papers include political humor materials and Southwest Texas University documents including board meeting minutes and papers related to the Lyndon B. Johnson endowment fund and the Walter Richter scholarship. Also included in the collection are the Poor Richter’s Almanac, a Navy air radio show script, files and ephemera related to the 2000 Presidential campaign, and one bound volume of issues of the College Star, San Marcos, Texas, September 1936-May 1937.
Portions of these papers are stored remotely and restricted due to preservation concerns. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for information.
Walter H. Richter Papers, 1936-1937, 1963-2000, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers