Municipal Archives

Resources for Researching Former Mayors of Dallas:
A Selected Annotated Guide

Pathfinder Number 4

​The primary source for the official actions of the Mayor is the Dallas City Council’s minutes, along with the ordinances and resolutions passed by the Council. 

City Council Minutes, Ordinances and Resolutions; ​

[City Secretary’s Files/Council Action Files]

​Dallas City Council’s official records, including minutes of the Dallas City Council [and earlier forms of government], from 1868 to the present, are available for research in paper, electronic, and micrographic forms

Complete earlier records (1868-1950) and later records (1979-1997) are on microfiche and indexed by subject matter and by ordinance and resolution numbers, and may be viewed at the City Secretary’s Office

Mid-century minutes, ordinances and resolutions (1950-1970s) are indexed and microfilmed, excluding original contracts and memoranda.  Other council records from the same period are in process of microfilming; contact Archivist for status.

Council minutes, agendas, and ordinances and resolutions from 1995 to the present are available in electronic form at the City Secretary’s Office website.

Council records contain primary documents associated with annexation, early neighborhoods and neighborhood groups, evidence of construction of streets, bridges, parks, libraries, and other city properties and services in specific neighborhoods.

In addition, many future mayors of Dallas also served on the Dallas City Council or on one of the City’s boards or commissions (such as the Dallas Park Board). Council minutes and departmental records frequently shed light on the activities of individuals prior to becoming mayor

Visual Materials

Photographs of Mayors are available in the following Dallas Municipal Archives collections:

Collection 1999-003—City Photographer, 1950-1997
Five thousand black and white and color photographic negatives and prints documenting people, places and events concerning Dallas city government.  Although city government is the focus of this collection, photographs include parks, recreation centers and events held at specific parks around Dallas.  

Photographs prior to 1950 by the City Photographer are located in the Texas/Dallas History & Archives division of the Dallas Public Library.

Collection 1992-017 Gittings Studio Portraiture Collection, 1931-1992

Dallas City Council Inauguration Photographs

Collection 1994-008—City Council Inauguration Contact Proofs, 1991
Collection 1994-009—City Council Inauguration Photographs and Negatives, 1992
Collection 1997-019—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 1997
Collection 2000-001—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 1999
Collection 2002-009—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 1998
Collection 2003-013—Dallas City Council Inauguration Photographs, 2001
Collection 2006-002—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 2005
Collection 2011-002—Dallas City Council Inauguration Photographs, 2011

Dallas City Council Meetings Videotape Collection

The Dallas City Council’s meetings were videotaped from the early 1980s-2005 and are now digitally recorded. Only a handful of pre-2005 examples have been preserved. Meetings are streamed live on the City Council website and rebroadcast on several local cable and digital channels in Dallas and replayed several times during the week. Past meetings in MP4 format can be found on the Council website and are searchable by date.

Audio Recordings

Audio of Council meetings was recorded as early as the 1950s though entire meetings were not regularly captured until the 1980s. Meetings from 2005 to the present are available in digital formats on the City Secretary’s website.  See the city archivist for a complete list of available recordings.

Personal Papers and Related Collections

​The Dallas Municipal Archives does not collect the papers of former mayors of Dallas unless contained within the records of a City of Dallas department. However, a number of institutions in Dallas and elsewhere possess collections ranging from a few documents to entire bodies of papers. Wherever known, a source is indicated. Contact the respective repository for its hours, location, and access policies. If you know of the whereabouts of other former mayors’ papers, contact the city archivist for future inclusion on this list.

Sawnie R. Aldredge (served 1921-1923)
Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Aldredge (Sawnie) Scrapbooks

Steve Bartlett (1991-1995)
Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Steve Bartlett Papers
John Henry Brown (1885-1887)
Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
John Henry Brown Papers
Dallas Historical Society
Collection A39.25os. Henry E. McCulloch, Brig. General Confederate States Provisional Army; General Order No. 7 proclaiming and defining operation of martial law to all persons within his jurisdiction.  Headquarters Tyler, Texas, June 14, 1862, signed by John Henry Brown; Collection A47.115. Deed, A. H. Shepherd to John Henry Brown.

Earle Cabell (1961-1964)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
Earle Cabell Gifts Collection 1960–1971. Photographs and memorabilia given to Cabell while he was mayor.

William L. Cabell “Old Tige” (1874-1876, 1877-1879, 1883-1885)
Dallas Historical Society
Collection A43.115 Personal papers; cash book; papers as U.S. Marshall; United Confederate Veterans correspondence; note book; death notations in scrapbook with newsclippings and tributes; print of Confederate seal used for New Year's Greetings, various booklets and pamphlets.  Much of this collection deals with the United Confederate Veterans; Collection A60.32/L43.24.75 Freight bill to General Cabell from Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company Director; Collection A36.56 Photostats of letter from Union prison on Johnson Island of W. L. Cabell to wife, 1864; Collection A51.95 Letter, Lt. Gen. W. L. Cabell, Dallas, to comrades from letter announcing organization of United Confederate Veterans, 1891; 2 drafts of Cabell's letter to Gen. Wm. E. Mickle, New Orleans, re:  inability to attend reunion,1907; Collection A53.115 Autobiographical documents of Gen. W. L. Cabell with particular reference to his military career; and partial drafts of UCV correspondence and oration; Collection A39.17 Reminiscences of General W. L. Cabell (manuscript).
John M.Crockett (1857-1858, 1859-1861, 1865-1866)            
Texas State Archives 
Texas Office of the Governor: Records of Peter Hansbrough Bell, 1849-1853; Texas Office of the Governor: Records of Francis Richard Lubbock, 1861-1904, undated (bulk 1861-1863) 
The University of Texas at Austin. Center for American History
Swante Palm Papers, 1834-1897, Literary collection includes inaugural address of Texas Lieutenant Governor John M. Crockett in 1861.

Robert Folsom (1976–1981)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
Robert Folsom Mayoral Papers 016.352 F671YG 1985 1977 – 1981; 32 cubic feet, Correspondence, brochures, reports, and City of Dallas publications.

John J. Good (1880–1881)
University of Texas at Arlington Library, Special Collections, 
John J. Good Papers, 

George Guess (1866-1868)
Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
George Guess Letters

Adlene Harrison (1976)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
Oral history interview (transcription)

J. Erik Jonsson (1964–1971)
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University
J. Erik Jonsson Papers

John Lane (1866)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
A36.66 Crutchfield-Lane Family Materials:  letters, manuscripts, photographs, album.  

Isaac Naylor (1858)
Rosenberg Library [Galveston] Special Collections:
Naylor Family Papers, 1862-1933; 79-0010. 5 inches.
Includes manuscript and published genealogies of the Naylor and related family and correspondence on family history.

J. Woodall Rodgers (1939-1947)
Dallas Historical Society
A55.53 "What Does the Future Hold for Dallas? and What Does Dallas Hold for The Future?"; A63.54R "Urban Renewal,"; A65.12R "What Price N. A. T. O.?" 
"How Can We Improve Our County Government," papers read before the Critic Club 1953-1958.

Annette Strauss (1987–1991)
University of Texas at Austin
Annette Strauss Papers, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Thornton, Robert L. (1953–1961)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
A90.5 and V90.6; City of Dallas letters and documents; State Fair of Texas items; photos of R. L. Thornton and Mercantile Bank; A39.101
Correspondence (15 items) of various men, including R. L. Thornton.

Traylor, John (1898–1900)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
A47.61, Autobiography of John H. Traylor (ms book - carbon of typescript).

Wise, Wes (1971–1976)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
Wes Wise Mayoral Papers (MS 2) 1971-1976; 14 cu. ft.   016.352 W813YD1986 Mayor of Dallas, Texas (1969-1976). Correspondence, press releases, and budget reports form the office of Mayor Wise. Also included are correspondence from citizens of Dallas, and reports from various city departments

Frank W. Wozencraft (1919-1921)
Texas/Dallas History Collection and Archives, Dallas Public Library
Oral history interview (transcription).

Unidentified or unlocated papers

A. D. Rice


Ben E. Cabell


Benjamin Long

1868-1870, 1872-1874

Bryan T. Barry

1894-1895, 1897-1898, 1904-1906

Chas E. Turner


Curtis P. Smith


Frank P. Holland


George Sergeant


George Sprague


Henry D. Lindsley


Henry Ervay


Jean Baptiste Adoue


J. L. Smith


J. M. Thurmond


J. R. Temple


J. W. Crowdus


J. Waddy Tate


Jack Evans


Joe E. Lawther


John D. Kerfoot


Louis Blaylock


R. E. Burt


Ron Kirk


Samuel B. Pryor


Starke Taylor


Stephen J. Hay


T. L. Bradford


Thomas. E. Sherwood


W. L. Cabell


W. M. Holland


Wallace H. Savage


Winship C. Connor