A Guide to the Hatton W. Sumners Papers, 1935-1938
Born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, attorney and democratic politician Hatton William Sumners (1875-1962) was the son of William A. Sumners and Anna Elizabeth Walker. In 1894, he moved with his family to Dallas County, Texas, where he studied law with Dallas attorney Alfred P. Wozencraft. After passing the Texas bar examination three years later, Sumners was elected Dallas County Attorney in 1900, and again in 1904 after losing in 1902. In 1906, he practiced law until he was appointed a congressman in the U. S. House of Representatives in 1912, serving sixteen more terms. From 1932 through 1946, Sumners served as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, during which he challenged President Roosevelt’s court-packing plan of 1937, that would allow the president to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice after a sitting judge had reached 70 years of age and did not retire. Sumners retired to Dallas in 1946, serving as Director of the Research in Law and Government of the Southwestern Legal Foundation at Southern Methodist University.
"Sumners, Hatton William." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed May 2, 2011. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=S001072.
Monroe, Catherine Mary. "Sumners, Hatton William."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 2, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsu04.
Patenaude, Lionel V. "Court-Packing Plan of 1937."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 2, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jzc01.
Comprising a bound volume of photocopied correspondence, memoranda, and a legislative bill, the Hatton W. Sumners Papers, 1935-1938, chronicle Sumner’s activities as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary. Correspondence and memoranda from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary to the President M .H. McIntyre, among others, concern the court-packing plan of 1937. Additionally, the collection contains a copy of a proposed bill on railroad reorganization.
This collection is open for research use.
Hatton W. Sumners Papers, 1935-1938, 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