House Textbook Investigating Committee

Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Textbook Investigating Committee: An Inventory of House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee Audiotapes at the Texas State Archives

 

Organization History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials

Texas_House_of_RepresentativesOverview

Creator:  Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Textbook Investigating Committee
Title:  House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee audiotapes
Dates: 1962
Abstract: In response to controversy over the content of public school textbooks and assigned student reading in Texas in the 1950s and 1960s, the Texas House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee was created (House Simple Resolution 736, 57th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) in 1962 to study the contents of public school American history textbooks that had been approved for use in Texas schools and report its findings to the House of Representatives before the end of the regular session of the 58th Legislature. Economics and home economics textbooks, in addition to literary works used as assigned reading, also came under the committee’s consideration. Audiotapes, dating from 1962, document all of the committee’s public hearings in Austin, Amarillo, and San Antonio, and its two meetings held after the hearings. These audiotapes have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Quantity: 1.44 cubic ft. (48 tape reels)
Language: These materials are in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: The preparation and digitization of this collection for online public access was funded in full or in part with a Library Services and Technology Act (20 U.S.C. § 9121) grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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Other Finding Aids

A description of non-electronic records described in this finding aid are available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/70062/tsl-70062.html.


Arrangement of the Records

These audiotapes are arranged in chronological order, grouped by hearing location (Austin, Amarillo, San Antonio), with committee meetings appearing last.


Agency History

Responsibility for choosing textbooks for the state’s public schools lies with the Texas State Board of Education, which asks publishers to revise the content of their textbooks to conform to state curriculum standards. The board appoints a Texas State Textbook Committee to serve in the annual textbook selection process. Controversy in Texas over the content of public school textbooks and assigned student reading was spurred in the 1950s and 1960s by individuals and groups who believed that some textbooks and works of fiction promoted socialism, communism, anti-religion, and promiscuity. In response to this controversy, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Simple Resolution 736 (57th Texas Legislature, Regular Session), which authorized the Speaker of the House to appoint a special committee to study the contents of public school American history textbooks and report its findings to the House of Representatives before the end of the regular session of the 58th Legislature. The committee members appointed were Representatives W.T. “Bill” Dungan (chair), Bob Bass (vice chair), John C. Alaniz, Nelson Cowles, and Ronald E. Roberts. The committee’s charge refers to “this time of peril and decision in the United States of America of true education of the youth of our Nation to the ideals of our wonderful American heritage” and the House of Representatives’ “desire that the American history courses in the public schools emphasize in the textbooks our glowing and throbbing history of hearts and souls inspired by wonderful American principles and traditions…”

The Textbook Investigating Committee met twice in January 1962 to begin and plan its work and then held seven public hearings that year at which testimony was heard from individuals representing themselves or an organization. Hearings were held in Austin on January 17, 24, and 31, and on February 9; in Amarillo on February 26; and in San Antonio on April 2 and 3. The committee’s report includes mention of a hearing held in Dallas, though no such hearing appears in the report’s list of meetings and hearings. While the committee’s charge was to examine the content of American history textbooks that had been approved for use in Texas schools, economics and home economics textbooks, in addition to literary works used as assigned reading, also came under the committee’s consideration. American history textbooks discussed in the hearings included This Is Our Nation by Boller and Tilford (Webster Publishing Company, 1961); American History by Craven and Johnson (Ginn, 1961); Rise of the American Nation by Todd and Curti (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961); This Is America’s Story by Wilder, Ludlum and Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 1961); The Story of American Freedom by Edna McGuire (Macmillan, 1961); Men and Nations by Mazour and Peoples (Harcourt, Brace and World, 1961); Magruder’s American Government by Magruder and McClenaghan (Allyn and Bacon, 1961); and History of a Free People by Bragdon and McCutcheon (Macmillan, 1961). Economics textbooks under examination were Economics for Our Times by Augustus H. Smith (McGraw-Hill, 1959), Economic Problems of Today by Klein and Colvin (Lyons and Carnahan, 1959), and Economics and You by Sol Holt (Scribner, 1956). Home economics textbooks receiving criticism were Family Living by Duvall (Macmillan, 1961), Personal Adjustment, Marriage and Family Living (Prentice-Hall, 1961) and Building Your Life (Prentice-Hall, 1959) by Landis and Landis, and The Consumer Investigates by Zu Tavern and Bullock (Lincoln (Neb.) University Publishing Co., 1954). Works of fiction discussed during testimony included Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor, The Way West and The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie Jr., Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk, Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge, and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

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Scope and Content of the Records

In response to controversy over the content of public school textbooks and assigned student reading in Texas in the 1950s and 1960s, the Texas House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee was created (House Simple Resolution 736, 57th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) in 1962 to study the contents of public school American history textbooks and report its findings to the House of Representatives before the end of the regular session of the 58th Legislature. Audiotapes, dating from 1962, document all of the committee’s public hearings and its two meetings held after the hearings. While the committee’s charge was to examine the content of American history textbooks that had been approved for use in Texas schools, economics and home economics textbooks, in addition to literary works used as assigned reading, also came under the committee’s consideration. Responsibility for choosing textbooks for the state’s public schools lies with the Texas State Board of Education, which asks publishers to revise the content of their textbooks to conform to state curriculum standards. The board appoints a Texas State Textbook Committee to serve in the annual textbook selection process.

Public hearings were held by the committee on January 17, 24, and 31, and on February 9, all in the Texas House of Representatives Main Committee Room at the Capitol in Austin. A public hearing was held on February 26 at the School Administration Building auditorium in Amarillo, and two public hearings were held on April 2 and 3 at the Sidney Lanier High School auditorium in San Antonio. After the hearings, the committee met twice, on June 25 and November 12, to discuss its work to complete a report to be submitted to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature. According to that report, the committee first met on January 3 and 10 to begin planning its work; recordings of those meetings are not included in these records, though minutes of the January 3 meeting appear in other records in the State Archives holdings (see Related Material).

Among those testifying at the hearings were members of the conservative political action committee Texans for America, including its founder, J. Evetts Haley, a historian and Texas Panhandle rancher. Testifying on behalf of a more liberal approach to textbook content were members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and members of the Texas Institute of Letters, including Southern Methodist University professor Lon Tinkle, University of Texas at Austin (UT) professor Ernest Mossner, UT Press founding director Frank Wardlaw, folklorist and former UT professor J. Frank Dobie, and Reverend Joseph M. Dawson. Dozens of individuals representing only themselves also testified before the committee, including Elton R. Cude, of the American Legion, Department of Texas; Mel and Norma Gabler, founders of Educational Research Analysts, a conservative Christian organization devoted to Texas public school textbook review; Maury Maverick Jr., a lawyer for the ACLU and former Texas state representative; and Roger Shattuck, a National Book Award-winning writer and UT professor of French at that time.

Transcripts of testimony given by Haley (similar to, but not a verbatim transcript of his recorded testimony to this legislative committee on January 17, 1962); and the testimony given by Tinkle, Mossner, Wardlaw, Dobie, and Reverend Dawson on January 31, 1962; and by Reverend Lovely on February 9, 1962; are available in other records in the State Archives holdings (see Related Material).


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
Due to the fragility of the audiotapes, the digital copies must be used instead of the original tapes. Researchers wishing to access the original tape reels must contact Archives staff. Access may be granted if the researcher wants to view the physical tape and its container.

Restrictions on Use
The use of legislatively produced audio or visual materials in political advertising is prohibited (Texas Government Code, Section 306.005). In addition, commercial use of legislatively produced audio or visual material is limited (Texas Government Code, Section 306.006).

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements
None.


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
Helen Bownds State Textbook Committee member records, 1960-1961, 1 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for this unprocessed collection. Call numbers are 1981/168-1 and 2.]
Texas Education Agency Textbook Division records (protests and statements on certain books being considered for adoption), 1963, 1970, 0.1 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 2006 Accessions Box 1 (2006/115).]
Texas Legislative Reference Library, Records relating to textbook review and investigation, 1960-1962, 0.1 cubic ft. [In addition to Texas State Textbook Committee materials, includes House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee meeting minutes, January 3, 1962; written testimony by J. Evetts Haley (similar, but not verbatim testimony given by Haley when testifying to the committee on January 17, 1962); testimony transcript of professors Lon Tinkle and Ernest C. Mossner, Frank Wardlaw, J. Frank Dobie, and Dr. J. (Reverend Joseph) M. Dawson, January 31, 1962; and testimony transcript of Reverend Brandoch Lovely, February 9, 1962.] [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 1984/171-2.]
Texas Legislature, Textbook Investigating Committee minutes and proceedings (vol. 3) and correspondence, 1923, 0.25 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 4-3/684, Restricted.]
Texas State Board of Education records, State Textbook Board minutes, 1912-1922, 1924-1925, 1 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 2012/042-23.]
Texas State Board of Education minutes and agenda, 1950-2005, 33.5 cubic ft.
Texas Capitol News Service records, 1920-1941, undated, bulk 1939-1941, 2.23 cubic ft. [See Photographs series, Texas State Textbook Committee and Texas State Board of Education photographs, 1939.]
Texas Legislature, Text-Book Investigating Committee records, 1922-1923, 0.47 cubic ft.
Publications
Texas. State Textbook Committee. Report of the State Textbook Committee to the State Commissioner of Education on books offered for adoption. Austin, Tex.: Texas Education Agency, 1961.

Administrative Information

Other Formats for the Records
The audio recordings described in this finding aid have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

See Related Material for transcripts of testimony by several witnesses who testified before this committee.

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the series). Texas House of Representatives Textbook Investigating Committee audiotapes. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession number: 1987/076

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas House of Representatives Committee Coordinator on January 13, 1987.

Processing Information
Processed by Rebecca Romanchuk, April 2017