Contact Us
Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Records, 1922-1923,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Legislature, Text-Book Investigating Committee:

An Inventory of Records at the Texas State Archives, 1922-1923



Overview

Creator: Texas. Legislature. Text-Book Investigating Committee.
Title: Records
Dates: 1922-1923
Abstract: Records comprise the transcript of testimony, bids from publishers, affidavits, copies of telegrams, and copy of HCR 4, dating from 1922 to 1923, that were gathered by the Texas Legislature's Text-Book Investigating Committee in 1923. The Committee investigated the textbook contracts made by the Texas State Text Book Commission in 1922 to determine whether or not the contracts were justified and/or unduly influenced by the agents and representatives of the publishers and distributors of textbooks.
Quantity: 0.47 cubic ft.
Language English.

Agency History

On Friday, January 13, 1923, during the Regular Session of the 38th Texas Legislature, Representative J. W. Laird proposed House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 4. The resolution pointed out the "deplorable" financial condition of the Texas school system (which had forced the closure of many schools after only 4 months) and the fact that the Texas State Text Book Commission had recently let contracts for approximately $1,800,000, and called for an investigation of the text book contracts of 1922 to determine whether or not the contracts were justified. Laird proposed the formation of a joint committee composed of five members of the House Education Committee and three members of the Senate Education Committee. Voting on the resolution was postponed several times, during which period (on January 22) Governor Pat Neff sent a message to the House explaining the recent actions of the Text Book Commission, posing questions for legislative consideration, and expressing support for the honesty and sincerity of the Text Book Commission. HCR 4 was finally adopted by the House on January 25, along with HCR 6, calling the publishers and agents of text books to appear before the committee established by HCR 4 so that they might relate their expenditures during the textbook selection process. Several minor amendments were offered to HCR 4 on January 26, some of which were adopted. The resolution was then sent to the Senate, from which it returned, with amendments, on February 21. The House concurred in the amendments and finally signed the resolution on February 22. On February 23, Representatives P.G. Henderson, H.S. Bonham, R.A. Baldwin, L.E. Price, and John W. Laird (Chair) were appointed to the Text-Book Investigating Committee. Senate appointees were Senators H.L. Darwin, R.S. Bowers, and A.J. Wirtz. The committee began gathering documentary evidence, but, on March 13, with the Legislature's Regular Session coming to an end, Representative Pope offered HCR 35 proposing that the committee continue its work into the vacation between sessions or into the First Called Session of the 38th Legislature (if a supplementary session was called). HCR 35 was adopted.

The (joint) Text-Book Investigating Committee thus continued its work over the interim and into the First Called Session of the 38th Legislature. It held hearings and collected evidence throughout April of 1923 and submitted a majority report, with minority addendum, to the Legislature on May 3. The report found that various publishing houses, agents, and other representatives and employees of textbook publishers and distributors had tried to inappropriately influence the decisions of the Text Book Commission, that the Commission had failed to follow proper procedures, and that, while the committee had found no direct evidence of bribery of or fraud by a Commission member, the Commission had acted in disregard of Texas schoolchildren and taxpayers. As a result, the committee members proposed five conclusions of law, all of which invalidated the contracts made by the Text Book Commission in 1922, and recommended that all relevant officials and the Attorney General cancel the contracts, stop payment, and defend such actions in court if necessary. The minority addendum to the report agreed with the majority but stressed the fundamental honesty of the Text Book Commission, disagreed that the committee had the authority to make conclusions of law, and added several further recommendations - including the repeal or amendment of the free text book law.

The adoption of the report appears to have resulted in some controversy - the Attorney General refused to follow the recommendations of the Text Book Investigating Committee, while the State Superintendent, Comptroller, and Treasurer assured both branches of the Legislature that they would not honor the contracts until they were proven to be legal in the courts. The House thus passed an unnumbered simple resolution (offered by Representative Baldwin on May 14, 1923, also during the First Called Session) creating a committee to engage the services of competent attorneys to defend state officials who failed to honor the contracts.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Contents of the Records

Records comprise the transcript of testimony, bids from publishers, affidavits, copies of telegrams, and a copy of HCR 4, dating from 1922 to 1923, that were gathered by the Texas Legislature's Text-Book Investigating Committee in 1923. The committee investigated the text book contracts made by the Texas State Text Book Commission in 1922 to determine whether or not the contracts were justified and/or unduly influenced by the agents and representatives of the publishers and distributors of textbooks. The testimony was taken during April of 1923 and includes letters, statements, and newspaper articles that were read into the record. Texas Governor Pat M. Neff and Attorney General John A. Keeling were among those to give testimony before the committee.

The testimony has been bound into three volumes; the supporting documentation is loose and some is badly damaged.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.

Return to the Table of Contents


 

Arrangement of the Records

The records are arranged in four folders; first the volumes of testimony, then the supporting documentation.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

The materials are fragile and may not be photocopied without the permission of the preservation archivist.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Neff, Pat Morris, 1971-1952.
Keeling, John A.
Corporate Names:
Texas. State Textbook Commission.
Subjects:
Textbooks--Texas.
Contracts--Texas.
Undue influence--Texas.
Legislative bodies--Texas--Committees.
Governmental investigations--Texas.
Document Types:
Transcript--Texas--Governmental investigations--1922-1923.
Affidavits--Texas--Governmental investigations--1922-1923.
Telegrams--Texas--Governmental investigations--1922-1923.
Legislative records--Texas--Governmental investigations--1922-1923.
Financial records--Texas--Governmental investigations--1922-1923.
Functions:
Administering governmental investigations.
Investigating contracts.

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Text Book Board, Records, 1908, 0.07 cubic ft.
Texas Textbook Committee, Records of the donor, 1960-1961, 0.94 cubic ft.
Texas Attorney-General's Office, Litigtion files, State of Texas v. American textbook Company, 1922, fractional

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Records, Text-Book Investigating Committee, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 2000/175

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by an unknown agency during the 20th century. The records were assigned an accession number on July 24, 2000.

Processing Information

Nancy Enneking, July 2000

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Records, 1922-1923,
0.47 cubic ft.

box
2000/175 Testimony:
April 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 1923
April 18, 19, 1923
April 23, 24, 25, 26, 1923
Supporting documents (including bids, copies of telegrams, affidavits, and a copy of HCR 4), 1922-1923

Return to the Table of Contents