The Jack Brooks Digital Legacy Project presents a curated selection of items from the collected papers of Jack Brooks, which are held by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at UT Austin. Citation data for digital items is consistent with the physical collection.
In addition to searchable archival objects, the Jack Brooks Digital Legacy Project features original content by Brooks Project historians and archivists to help contextualize the congressman’s life and era. Users will also find information below describing the Brooks Project's source selection criteria and metadata schema.
The Jack Brooks Papers contain 860 linear feet of materials documenting a forty-two-year congressional career. Our aim with this digital project was to provide an overview of the life and work of Jack Brooks. Inevitably there were materials that were not selected for this project, and folks interested in taking a deeper dive into any of the topics covered by our selections will find a wealth of material at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Project staff embarked on an extensive selection process during which we sifted through decades of materials covering various aspects of the congressman’s career. We emphasized materials created directly by Jack Brooks, or with his clear input (such as handwritten notes, highlights, and so on). In addition, we looked for materials that could provide context to an issue, piece of legislation, investigation, relationship, or era. In those cases, we selected materials that may not have been created directly by Jack Brooks, but which shed light on his work and the times in which he lived. In this digital project, you will find correspondence between Jack Brooks and presidents, senators, members of Congress, his constituents, and political figures from East Texas and across the nation. You will find memos written by Jack Brooks’s staff, notes he took during congressional hearings, news releases, exhibits from congressional investigations, and other products of a long congressional career. When you engage with these materials you will notice that the items are tagged with various themes and subjects. In our selection process, we identified five themes for this project. These themes are: Personal; Politics and Elections; Legislation; Inquiries and Investigations; and Government Operations. You can find our explanations for each section on the "Themes" page for this project.
In addition to digitized paper materials, you will see photographs that range from Brooks’s service in the Pacific theater during the Second World War through his political career. The photographs center mostly on the congressman’s work, but there are a handful of personal photographs as well. Finally, we have digitized audiovisual materials that include communications from Brooks to his constituents as well as campaign advertisements and other events. Our hope is that you will walk away with a sense of the work of one man, Jack Brooks, and the shifting era in which he lived.
A Note on Metadata and Searching
The items collected in this project are described by metadata – essentially information about the item itself. This metadata includes the title, date, creator, subject, geographical subject or location, subject matter, type of item, as well as theme and collection strength. This level of description allows the user to search based on a topic, a person, or type of item, for example, and view all items meeting the search description. Our search function allows the user to filter and refine their search. One could, for instance, search for items mentioning both Jack Brooks and Richard Nixon and even refine it further to letters featuring both men. Searches for particular subject matter, such as civil rights or government investigations, will return items linked to those subject terms. Users will notice names and types of material linked in blue on the left-hand side of the screen. These are linked data that will help refine searches if typing in the text box is not preferred.
The Jack Brooks Digital Legacy Project was supported in part by the Jack Brooks Foundation, a nonprofit organization that develops independent and nonpartisan activities designed to empower, educate, and motivate individual Americans to participate in the voting process.
Users of the Jack Brooks Digital Legacy Project can find more information about Brooks’s life and career—including excerpted video interviews with his congressional staff and contemporaries—at the Jack Brooks Foundation’s Vimeo page.
Through stewardship, scholarship, and outreach, the Briscoe Center for American History cultivates historical knowledge and fosters exploration of our nation’s past. The Jack Brooks Digital Legacy Project was supported in part by the center's Janey and Dolph Briscoe Jr. Endowment for Texas History.
As a leading history research center, we collect, preserve, and make available archival evidence evidence that encompasses key themes in Texas and U.S. history. Researchers, students, and the public use our collections for a wide range of academic, professional, and personal uses.
Archival collections also inspire the center’s own projects, including books, exhibits, programs, films, and educational materials. The Briscoe Center is an organized research unit and public service component of The University of Texas at Austin.
Eric Busch, PhD
Gillian Morton, graduate student, UT iSchool
Elizabeth Seeley, graduate student, UT iSchool
Audiovisual Archivist / Music Curator
Don Carleton, PhD
Director of Research and Collections
Associate Director for Digital Content Strategy
Banner image: Photograph of Jack Brooks, Charlotte Brooks, Lady Bird Johnson, and Lyndon B. Johnson, September 28, 1963. camh-dob-002497