The James V. Allred Collection consists of over 200 boxes of materials dating from 1853 to 1970, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921 to 1959. The papers consist in large part of letters received by Allred, and of carbon copies of his replies. There are many copies of letters from other individuals as enclosures in letters addressed to Allred. In addition to the correspondence there are vast numbers of documents, drafts, reports, and other working papers relating to and reflecting Allred's activities as attorney, district attorney, attorney general, governor, judge, citizen, civic leader, churchman, and interested observer and participant in the political scene in Texas.
This collection is divided into twelve series: Personal, 1922-1959; Practice of Law, 1921-30; District Attorney, 1923-25; Political Files, 1926-58; Attorney General, 1931-1935; Governor, 1935-39; Practice of Law, 1942-49; Judge U.S. District Court, 1939-1942 and 1949-1959; Clippings and Newspapers, 1923-1970; Miscellaneous Publications, 1935-1947; Appointment Books, 1930-59; Photographs and Memorabilia. With the exception of the first series, which contains primarily biographical and personal materials, the series relate to Allred's career as a politician and lawyer. Series Two and Three document the early career of a lawyer in a small Texas city and reveal the activities of a man who obviously hoped to build a political rather than a legal career. Allred was a candidate for high office in his state six times, three for the office of attorney general, twice for the governorship, and once for a seat in the United States Senate. Four of these campaigns were successful.
Comprehensive, if not complete records of these campaigns are preserved in Series Four. They reveal the nature and extent of the resources and organization necessary to conduct a state wide political campaign, and also suggest the ways in which it was financed.
Especially noteworthy is the vast number of personal contacts that Allred made during his political career. He appeared in every large city in Texas, and in an innumerable number of smaller towns and villages. He replied to literally thousands of letters of approval from every corner of the state, and to people of all walks of life.
Allred established and maintained contacts with many of the prominent political leaders of his generation, not only in his state, but throughout the United States. The series relating to the years of the attorney generalship not only reflect the activities imposed by law, but also reveals the broad range of activities in which the incumbent has considerable room for initiative, which will keep him in the public eye. Wise utilization of a wider range of opportunities show how an ingenious man can acquire the prestige necessary for a successful campaign for the governorship.
The Sixth Series, Governor, covers the administrative duties inherent in the office of governor, but more importantly the materials document the wide variety of pressures under which the governor must operate. The letters addressed to him, especially the commendations and complaints, constitute a valuable source of information on public opinion on such matters as law enforcement, crime, liquor regulation, blue laws, gambling, the location of roads, and the impact of growing industrialization on a largely rural state.
The documents in the series relating to the years 1939 to 1942 and 1949 to 1959 throw considerable light on the administration of justice on the federal level in Texas. This collection of legal papers provides insight into how the duties and activities of the federal judiciary relate to individuals, especially those who are involved in drugs, illegal entry into the United States, and other matters covered by federal statutes.
These papers will enable a student of Texas history to document many of its economic, social, and political aspects during the years 1929 to 1959. Allred's correspondents include most prominent men in Texas politics during those years, including many leading lawyers and businessmen, a considerable number of celebrities, and such people on the national scene as Franklin D. Roosevelt, James A. Farley, John N. Garner, Lyndon Johnson, Tom Connally, Sam Rayburn, Cordell Hull, Eleanor Roosevelt, and James Roosevelt.