October is American Archives Month, and the mood here at the Baylor Collections of Political Materials can best be described as “ridiculously excited”. American Archives Month began in 1979 with local archivists celebrating their respective collections and repositories. Since then, the merrymaking has grown to include archivists across the nation. The Society of American Archivists (SAA) calls it “an opportunity to tell (or remind) people that items that are important to them are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists.” We’re taking that responsibility to heart with our own month-long festivities.
Throughout October, we’ll be diving deep into our stacks in search of oddities, curios, and marvels and presenting them to you, our adoring fans. Every Thursday from now until November, you can find features about our never-before-seen materials on Facebook, Tumblr, and our blog. We’re calling this weekly series Treats & Treasures.
This week, we’re bringing you materials from our Hyde H. Murray collection. Hyde Murray served as Minority counsel for the House Agriculture Committee from 1958 to 1979 before becoming Minority Counsel of the House and counsel to the Minority Leader. During this time, his accomplishments included serving as the Senior Congressional Staff Advisor to the Food and Agriculture Organization bi-annual meeting at Rome, Italy; serving as the senior staff member for a congressional delegation on a Presidential mission to India; and reviewing U.S. foreign agricultural programs in South Vietnam, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Hyde Murray participated in many staff organizations and was awarded an Honorary Life membership in the Congressional Staff Club. Murray organized fundraisers and charity events for the club, often using his prodigious artistic talents to create signs, posters, and advertisements. These talents are evident not only in photographs of Murray’s drawings, but in his personal papers as well. These drawings range from absent-minded “doodles” to full-blown cartoons. (Click to enlarge)
This doodle on the cover of the 1968 Republican platform is of Abraham Lincoln’s watermarked visage. Humorously, Murray also inserted Spiro Agnew’s last name into the RNC slogan. Because Agnew was selected as Nixon’s running mate at the 1968 Republican National Convention, this doodle may have been made during the convention itself.
Dated October 29th, 1969, this document appears to be embellished notes from a meeting. Murray decorated the page with caricatures and geometric patterns. He also shows talent for font design.
This is the 1973 cover page to a statement by the National Milk Producers Federation. Murray drew an intricate, colorful human face in profile as well as a cartoon cow in a similar style. This piece reflects the radical changes art and graphic design were undergoing as a result of the ’60s consumer aesthetic.
Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. This cartoon by Murray comments on President Carter’s 1978 State of the Union address, portraying the President as a Quaker-esque saint offering farmers empty promises.
Hyde Murray’s papers joined the Baylor Collections of Political Materials beginning in the 1970s. Murray’s intent was to “see that [Baylor University] does become an on-going depository and contemporary instrument of scholarship and research about the legislative process” and was in part motivated by his “profound respect [and] a real affection for [W.R. Poage]”, our Legislative Library’s namesake. These materials show researchers and laymen alike that the legislative process is driven by men with passions, ideals, and creativity.