Public Service, Private Lives: Politicians as People

This blog was written by Museum Studies Graduate Assistant Alex Hampton.

The W. R. Poage Legislative Library is excited to announce its newest exhibit, “Public Service, Private Lives: Politicians as People,” which opened Thursday, March 15. This exhibit takes an inside look at the lives outside of Congress for W. R. Poage, Jack Hightower, Chet Edwards, and Byron Tunnell. The Poage Library is privileged to have access to documents, such as birthday cards and personal letters that remind us politicians are people too. The little glimpses their collections provide into their home lives demonstrate their efforts to balance personal relationships with the demanding job of public service. In reviewing Chet Edwards material, we noticed the bills he supported reflected what was also important to him in his everyday life. Lea Ann Edwards gave a speech titled, “A Small Moment,” in which she discusses Chet’s love for her, his mother, and their children. She says Chet dearly cares for all children and their access to a quality education. This can still be seen today, as Chet is the W. R. Poage Distinguished Chair of Public Service at Baylor, where he teaches classes, speaks to student groups, and mentors students one-on-one.

(Clockwise, starting top left) Chet and Lea Ann Edwards, Bob and Frances Poage, Byron Tunnell, Jack and Colleen Hightower with their three daughters Ann, Amy, and Alison

This exhibit features photographs, and letters from the loved ones of these congressmen, and helped us here at the Poage Library take a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. We hope you enjoy “Public Service Private Lives: Politicians as People” and see something of your own life in the people that represent you.

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