The A.M. Aikin, Jr. Papers consists of six broad series: Press Files, Correspondence, Legislative Files, Bills and Amendments, Resolutions, and Speeches from Mr. Aikin's career as as Texas state senator. His papers are incomplete, only covering his first twenty years in the State Senate, 1939-1959.
A.M. Aikin, Jr. was born on October 9, 1905, to A.M. and Mattie Stephen Aikin in Red River County, Texas. The Aikin family moved to Lamar County in 1907 where they operated a country store. Aikin attended school at Milton, and later graduated from the Deport schools. Attending small, rural schools throughout his life, he was well acquainted with the difficulties and issues surrounding rural education. He attended Paris Junior College and Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He received a bachelor of laws degree in 1932 from Cumberland.
In 1932, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. He was elected to the State Senate in 1937 after two terms in the House. He retired in 1979 after serving for 46 years.
During his time in the State Senate, Aikin served on the Senate Finance Committee. He was named dean of the Senate in 1963 and dean emeritus following his retirement. Aikin is perhaps best known for cosponsoring the Gilmer-Aikin Laws in 1949 with Representative Claude Gilmer. These laws established a centralized state education system and the Minimum Foundation school program, which financed minimum salaries for teachers using state funds. The Gilmer-Aikin Laws also set guaranteed public school funding levels for other similar expenditures. He supported education throughout his career, including bills to establish the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) in 1933 and an amendment to establish a minimum retirement compensation. Other legislation supported by Aikin increased state aid to public schools and colleges.
In 1929, Aikin married Welma Morphew. They had one son. A.M. Aikin, Jr. died on October 24, 1981 in Paris. The A. M. Aikin Regents Chair in Junior and Community College Education was endowed at the University of Texas Austin in his honor.
An oral history was conducted with A.M. Aikin, Jr. (OH631) in 1975. Both the interview and transcript are available upon request.
Oral histories were completed in the 1970s with many of A.M. Aikin's friends, family, and colleagues. The A.M. Aikin Oral History Project includes interviews with the following individuals:
Aikin, Colonel Dean (OH634)
Aikin, Welma (OH635)
Barnes, Ben (OH653)
Clark, R. Lee, M.D. (OH336)
Edgar, J.W. (OH397)
Gilmer, Claud (OH445)
Hall, Ralph (OH550)
Hardeman, Senator Dorsey (OH519)
Haskew, Larry, Ph.D. (OH727)
Head, Senator J. Manly (OH728)
Hobby, William (OH473)
Mauzy, Senator Oscar (OH289)
Moore, William (OH610)
Moreton, Robert (OH621)
Price, Daniel (OH370)
Schwartz, A.R. (OH259)
Shivers, Governor Allan (OH230)
Smith, Preston (OH191)
Speir, Colonel Wilson (OH52)
Stephens, Traxel (OH197)
Sturgeon, L.P. (OH242)
Taylor, James (OH132)
Word, J.P. (OH128)
Interivews are available upon request.
A.M. Aikin also donated a portion of his papers to the library at Paris Junior College. An inventory of the papers held by PJC is available upon request.
Part of the Special Collections, Gee Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository
Please cite as: The A.M. Aikin, Jr. Papers, collection 2008.028, James G. Gee Library Special Collections, Texas A&M University-Commerce. http://archives.tamuc.edu/repositories/2/resources/92 Accessed September 20, 2017.
Special Collections Department
James G. Gee Library Texas A&M University-Commerce