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Ralph Hall Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 2013.10

Abstract

The Ralph M. Hall Papers document the career and activities of Congressman Ralph Moody Hall and his office. Serving in Congress for over 30 years (1981-2014), Congressman Hall represented Texas' 4th District which covers large parts of Northeast Texas, eventually spanning from Rockwall to Texarkana. The collection contains correspondence, legislative files, and reports covering issues such energy, science and technology, and healthcare in addition to local issues facing the communities Hall represented. The collection also contains photographic and audio-visual materials in addition to a small selection of memorabilia and electronic records.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1980-2014, Bulk
  • 1843-2014, Inclusive

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Series IV. Committee Activity is closed until January 1, 2045

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Ralph Moody Hall (1923-2019) was born on May 3, 1923 in Fate, TX to Viola Maude (nee Ball) and Hugh Olin Hall, Sr. He attended public school, graduating from Rockwall High School in 1941. In 1942, Hall joined the Navy, serving as an aircraft carrier pilot and achieving the rank of Lieutenant. After the war, he attended the University of Texas from 1946-1947. He later went on to receive his LL. B from Southern Methodist University, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951. Hall began his career in public service in 1950, serving as County Judge of Rockwall County which he held until 1962. Following his judgeship, he was elected to the State Senate – replacing Senator Ray Roberts (who had won a special election to succeed Sam Rayburn as Congressman from the 4th district). During his time in the State Senate, he served on multiple committees, and was President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1968-1969. In 1970, he attempted to run for Lieutenant Governor but was barred by the Supreme Court from doing so. In 1972, he tried again – losing the Democratic Primary to Bill Hobby.

In 1980 Hall ran to represent Texas’ 4th District, after Congress Ray Roberts announced his decision to retire. Winning the election, Hall assumed office as Congressman in 1981. In his time in office, Hall served on both the Committee for Space Science and Technology as well as the Committee for Energy and Commerce often as Chair or Ranking member on the committees and respective subcommittees. He was also a founding member of the Blue Dog Democratic Caucus – whose membership comprised House Democrats that were traditionally more moderate or conservative.

In 2004, Hall switched parties, running for reelection to Congress as a Republican. Eight years later in 2012, Hall became the oldest serving member of the House in recorded history. In 2014 Hall, despite having the most votes, failed to achieve the majority needed for the Republican nomination. He subsequently lost the run-off election to John Ratcliffe, leaving office in January 2015.

Hall married Mary Ellen Murphy (1925-2008) in 1944. They have three sons: Hampton, Brett, and Blakeley. Hall has been a lifelong resident of Rockwall, TX.

Extent

256.5 Linear Feet (258 record boxes, 3 photograph (or microform) cartons, 37 oversized folders and 4 oversized flat objects in map case drawers)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into twelve series. These series primarily reflect the different aspects of Hall's activities during his time in Congress. Several additional series are separated by format or media:

Series I. Personal and Political

Series II. Administrative

Series III. Legislative

Series IV. Committee Activity

Series V. State and District Activity

Series VI. Media and Press Activity

Series VII. Constituent Mail

Series VIII. Photographs and Photographic Materials

Series IX. Audio/Video Material

Series X. Awards, Artifacts, and Oversized Materials

Series XI. Publications and Bound Volumes

Series XII. Electronic Records and Digital Media

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ralph M. Hall on June 4, 2013.

Processing Information

Initial appraisal and processing was performed by Laura Litwer, from 2013-2015. Processing and Finding Aid writing was done by Ian McGlory from 2015-2017 with additional help from Natalie Bonner, a graduate student. Finding aid reviewed by SCUA staff 2021.
Title
Ralph M. Hall Papers
Status
In Progress
Author
Ian McGlory
Date
July 25, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository