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Kathryn J. Whitmire Papers

Identifier: 2004-002

This set of papers documents Kathy Whitmire's long, active political career as the mayor of Houston throughout the 1980s. The collection is organized into four major series beginning chronologically with Jim Whitmire's political documents, Kathy Whitmire's career as city controller, followed by her mayoral campaigns and city business during each term, and documentation upon her defeat in 1991. The materials largely consist of Whitmire's campaign and city business documents including memorabilia, events, speech materials, financial budget information, correspondence, and publication clippings of interest illustrating her ten years served as Houston's first female mayor. The materials are housed in nine boxes, including one costume box. An oversized box holds large campaign signs and one small box containing campaign buttons. Each of the categories is prefaced by a detailed description.


  • 1972-1992

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


9.0 linear feet

Biographical Information

Kathryn "Kathy" J. Whitmire, a Houstonian born Oct. 29, 1946, graduated from San Jacinto High School as a Jones Scholar in 1964. She earned her degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston (UH) in 1968, magna cum laude and married Jim Whitmire, a business and accounting student. Kathy and her husband aspired to establish a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) practice together, so she earned a Master of Science degree in accounting in 1970. Whitmire became an executive with the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand in Houston, where she remained for eight years. She served as a faculty member for the Department of Business Management at UH Downtown, and ran a certified public accounting practice with her husband. After ten years of marriage, Whitmire's husband died of juvenile diabetes complications.

Following her husband's death, Whitmire ran for mayor of Houston in 1981. She won the mayoral race to serve as mayor for a total of five consecutive two-year terms. Whitmire achieved many awards throughout her mayoral tenure including the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Public Service Award from the Houston Chapter of CPAs. Furthermore, she was named the 1982 Woman of the Year by the Texas Women's Political Caucus. Whitmire served on numerous committees including the executive committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Literacy Task Force and Task Force on Drug Control and served as chair of the standing committee on the Arts, Culture & Recreation. In 1984, Whitmire received the Public Service Award from the American Society of Women CPAs then was awarded the International Business Award from the Houston World Trade Association and the Michael A. DiNunzio Award for Partnerships for Youth from the U.S. Conference of Mayors the following year. In 1986, Whitmire received the Institute of Human Relations Award from the International New Thought Alliance and was named the 1986 Distinguished Professional Woman by the Committee on the Status of Women at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. In 1987, she was honored with the Distinguished Sales Award by the Sales and Marketing Executives Society of Houston for her economic development efforts for Houston. She co-chaired the National League of Cities' (NLC) International Economic Development Task Force and was the 1987 chair of the NLC's Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee. She served as second vice-president on the board of directors of the Texas Municipal League and was a member of the board of trustees of the UH Foundation and executive committee of the Houston Economic Development Council. Upon her defeat by Bob Lanier in 1991, Whitmire embarked on various other activities and jobs. She was married in 2002 to Alan J. Whelms and moved to Hawaii.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Kathryn "Kathy" J. Whitmire in April, 2005.

Guide to the Kathryn J. Whitmire Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA