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Richards Collection preserves former governor’s political legacy for current and future generation of researchers

The political legacy of former Texas Governor Ann Richards (1933-2006) is represented in the Ann W. Richards Papers at The University of Texas at Austin Center for American History.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The political legacy of former Texas Governor Ann Richards (1933-2006) is represented in the Ann W. Richards Papers at The University of Texas at Austin Center for American History.

Ann Richards speaking at the Democratic Convention, 1988

© Wally McNamee, Ann Richards speaking at the Democratic Convention, 1988.

Visit the Center for American History’s In Memoriam for Ann Richards, 1933-2006.

The Richards Collection, which Richards donated to the center in the late 1990s, includes more than 1,500 cubic feet of correspondence, memoranda, scrapbooks, campaign records, schedules, gubernatorial appointments, legislative files, photographs, video and audiotapes, memorabilia and artifacts. 

This historically valuable collection of papers includes records from her service as she ascended the political ladder from Travis County commissioner, Texas state treasurer and finally as governor of Texas. The Richards papers are part of the Center for American History’s extensive collection of major Texas political figures from the 19th and 20th centuries.

“Ann Richards was a significant figure in the recent history of Texas, whose political and cultural achievements left a permanent mark, not only on her home state, but on the nation as a whole,” said Don E. Carleton, director of the Center for American History. “Those achievements, as well as the record of her life and career, are fully documented in the extensive papers and memorabilia that Ann Richards gave to the center. That collection includes her official papers as governor of Texas, in addition to her personal papers. The center is proud to serve as the steward of the Ann Richards papers, which will be a permanent resource for teaching on and research about the wide range of critical issues with which Ann Richards dealt during her distinguished career.”

The Richards Collection represents not only the long, distinguished career of Ann Richards as an elected official, but also a comprehensive overview of the politics, culture and social change in Texas during the latter half of the 20th century. During Richards’ public life and career, the state emerged as a leading economic power in the nation. Texas became the second most populous state in the nation as the landscape changed to reflect its urban and suburban character. Reflecting these changes and the state’s diversity, more women and minorities rose to positions of influence.

Richards understood the importance of her position, the image that she projected and the need to preserve her papers and records at the Center for American History and The University of Texas at Austin.

“There’s going to be a lot of little girls who open their history texts (and) see my picture,” Richards said. “And they will say, ‘If she can do it, so can I.’”

In addition serving as governor, Richards was Travis County commissioner from 1977-1983 and Texas state treasurer from 1983-1991. Nearly all of the public records from Richards’ career are open to the public for research and reading. Private records will remain closed for one year after Richards’ death.

A guide to the Ann Richards Papers is available online.

For more information contact: Ramona Kelly, Center for American History, 512-495-4515.