A Note on Themes
The materials in this project are classified by five themes. A short explanation for each theme is linked below. In many cases, an item may fall into two or three different themes and our metadata reflects these occurrences.
The Government Operations theme reflects the decades of work Jack Brooks produced as a member of the Government Operations Committee, of which he eventually became chairman. He also spent many years as the chairman of the Government Activities Subcommittee, where he investigated the FAA and lightbulb manufacturers, among others. Brooks also drafted critical legislation, the Brooks ADP Act of 1966, which standardized the purchase of computers for government use. Many of the materials here reflect Brooks’s zeal to ferret out budgetary waste both for the federal government and for the consumer. Materials include memos, correspondence, notes, drafts of legislation, speeches, and articles.
Inquiries and Investigations
The Inquiries and Investigations theme incorporates materials from the congressional investigations Jack Brooks led and participated in throughout his career. Most notably, this theme contains items related to Brooks’s investigation, as chairman of the Government Activities Subcommittee, into federal spending on improvements to President Nixon’s private homes, his role as a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings, and his membership of the Iran Select Committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair. Materials include memos, correspondence, drafts of the articles of impeachment, notes, speeches, and photographs.
The Legislation theme centers on Jack Brooks’s legislative work. Brooks is perhaps best known for the Brooks ADP Act of 1966, which standardized the use and purchase of computers by the federal government. His work in drafting this legislation is reflected in this theme as are other pieces of legislation, some authored by or sponsored by Brooks and others in which Brooks had an interest. The materials include drafts of legislation, memos, notes, and correspondence.
The Personal theme emphasizes Jack Brooks’s life outside of his work. Materials include correspondence of a personal nature between Brooks and his family or friends as well as photographs that shed light on Brooks’s life outside of work. The collection, though large, is mostly focused on professional materials, so there are only a handful of items that are of a strictly personal nature. Of course, the nature of records can be mixed, and in situations where a record falls into both the Personal and the Politics and Elections themes, we have tagged them with both as a way to reflect the item’s content.
Politics and Elections
The Politics and Elections theme is one of the largest and broadest in this project. Jack Brooks served in the House of Representatives for forty-two years and generated a large and varied amount of materials related to politics and electoral campaigns. In selecting these materials we looked for items that reflected his district in East Texas, Texas state politics, or national politics. Local issues include Lamar University, infrastructure projects like the Sam Rayburn Dam, rice farming, and the energy industry. In addition to this, Brooks had a voluminous amount of correspondence from constituents who expressed their opinions on political issues and pending legislation, or who wrote to their congressman asking for assistance on a variety of matters. In addition to responding to individual letters, Brooks communicated with constituents through newsletters and radio and TV broadcasts in the Beaumont area. Brooks also engaged in correspondence with friends and associates about politics in the counties he represented, across Texas, and nationally. National political issues present in this collection reflect the era with letters, memos, and notes related to civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam War, and the energy crisis. Brooks played a leading role in investigating the Nixon administration, the GAO, and the FAA, among others, and there are varied items that reflect this work. Materials in this theme include letters, memos, legislation, notes, telegrams, photographs, broadcast scripts, and recordings. Many of these items were authored by Jack Brooks or reflect his work, while others provide context for the issues or the times in which he worked.
Banner image: Jack Brooks at a press conference, August 1973. camh-dob-001176