University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Sheldon Ekland-Olson Papers, 1978-1982

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ekland-Olson, Sheldon, 1944-
Title: Ekland-Olson, Sheldon, Papers
Dates: 1978-1982
Abstract: The Sheldon Ekland-Olson Papers, 1978-1982, consist of court and prison documents used as research material for Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down.
Accession No.: 2012-008
Extent: 6 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Born in Southern California, Sheldon Ekland-Olson earned his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University in 1966, and his doctorate in sociology from the University of Washington five years later. As a postdoctoral fellow at Yale Law School, Ekland-Olson became interested in the criminal justice issues that informed his future research.

After joining the University of Texas at Austin’s Sociology department in 1971, Ekland-Olson authored or co-authored six books, most notably Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down as well as numerous articles. He has held several positions at the university, including Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Executive Vice President and Provost.


Nadler-Olenick, Rae. "Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Executive Vice President and Provost." TxTell, UT Stories. Accessed March 1, 2012.

Scope and Contents

Consisting of court, prison, and government records relating to the criminal justice system, the Sheldon Ekland-Olson Papers, 1978-1982, detail the Ruiz v. Estelle case, which was used in writing Ekland-Olson’s book, Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down. Trial transcripts from the case comprise the bulk of the collection, along with case files of prisoners James Elton Batts and Gus Feist.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Ekland-Olson, Sheldon, 1944- -- Archives.
Prisons -- Texas -- History
Prison administration -- Texas -- History.
Prisoners -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Texas -- History.
Prisoner violence -- Texas -- History.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Sheldon Ekland-Olson Papers, 1978-1982, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ryder Kouba, March 2012.

Detailed Description of the Papers



4La66 Trial transcripts, Ruiz v. Estell
October 1978
4La67 April-June 1979
4La68 July-August 1979
4La69 September 1979
4La70 Individual's testimony in Batts case, October-December 1978
4La71 Case files for James Elton Batts and Gus Feist