A Collection of Character

June 3, 2004

Employees of former Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, JD '58, can still recount the cold sweats they'd break into when they received one of their boss' infamous "blue zingers" -- usually a bluntly worded message printed on his distinctive blue stationery.

"He was a very disciplined and strong-willed person, and at the time in his career that I worked with him, his sole reason for governing was to do what was best for Texas," says Chuck Bailey, who worked with Bullock for 10 years, including as his executive assistant from 1994-95.

The Bullock Collection, which includes the politician's state government and personal papers from his 40 years of service, will open July 10 on what would have been Bullock's 75th birthday. It will be housed in the Baylor Collection of Political Materials on the first floor of the W.R. Poage Legislative Library. Across the hall, a Bullock Exhibit Area will have permanent and temporary exhibits about Bullock and temporary exhibits of other political collections.

"Bullock was one of Texas' most colorful and truly outstanding politicians," says Benna Ball, Baylor's project director for the Bullock Archive. "Bullock's influence is evident in almost every aspect of Texas politics for the last half of the 20th century. It's a very important collection for research."

Tommye Lou Davis, special assistant to Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr., admired Bullock's bipartisanship. "Legislatively, he did a great deal for the state of Texas but what stands out in my mind is he brought both parties together. He was not one of those politicians that was so partisan. I think that's a legacy he left that is very important."

Six years before his death in 1999, Bullock began donating to Baylor's Collection of Political Materials a variety of papers, microfilm, videos and newspaper political cartoons that documented his influential political career, which included 16 years as comptroller and eight as lieutenant governor. Bullock also was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, assistant attorney general, Texas secretary of state and an aide to former Gov. Preston Smith.

He established an endowed professorship at Baylor, and his friends and family created the Bob Bullock Scholars Program, which sends several student interns to the Texas Legislature in Austin every other spring when it is in session. "He was a loyal Baylor supporter and he chose to leave us his papers over all the other schools in Texas," Davis says.

The July opening will be the first public viewing of the complete papers and will include a private dinner for friends of Bullock. The display and dinner will be in the Mayborn Museum Complex.

A fundraising committee for the collection plans to establish an endowment for the ongoing upkeep of the Bullock Archive. For more information, call (254) 710-3767 or (254) 710-3540 or visit the Web site at digitalcollections-baylor.quartexcollections.com/poage-collections/bob-bullock-collection.