Wright, Jim, 1922-2015

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Jim Wright was born in Fort Worth in 1922 and spent his childhood in Texas and Oklahoma before attending Weatherford College and the University of Texas. Wright enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II and received his flyer’s wings and an officer’s commission at the age of nineteen. He flew combat missions in the South Pacific and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit.

Wright began his political career after the war. He joined the Young Democrats of Texas and, in 1946, was elected to the State Legislature. While a member of the State Legislature, he supported lowering the voting age to eighteen, allowing women to serve on juries, and other similar issues that challenged the status quo. In 1950, he became the mayor of Weatherford, Texas, a position he held until 1954, when voters from the Twelfth Congressional District elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Wright was a member of Congress for thirty-four years, from 1955 to 1989, a tenure that spanned eight presidents. During that time, he authored major legislation in the fields of foreign affairs, economic development, water conservation, and energy. The Interstate Highway System, Clean Water Program, and flood control are a few examples of the programs and issues he helped to advance while in office. Over time, he rose in stature within the Democratic Party. He was the House Majority Leader from 1976 to 1986 and Speaker of the House from 1987 to 1989. As Speaker, Wright presided over the 100th Congress, one of the most productive in terms of legislation passed in the House’s history. Speaker Wright’s efforts included working to reduce the national deficit and finding a way to bring peace to Central America.

After his resignation from Congress, Wright authored numerous books and articles and wrote columns and book reviews for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He taught a course in Political Science at TCU each fall entitled “Topics in American Politics: Congress and the Presidents.” from 1991 until 2010. He received the Golden Deeds Award from the National Exchange Club in 2014. He died on May 6, 2015.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Wright, Jim, 1922-2015. Jim Wright papers, 1911-2004 (bulk 1960-1989). Texas Christian University
referencedIn Walter Gardner Hall - Papers, MS 280., 1923-1990 Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
referencedIn Seals, Woodrow, 1917-1990. Judge Woodrow Seals Papers, 1941-1990 [Part 1] Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Libary
referencedIn Zapata, Louis (José Luis Zapata-Miranda), 1934-. Oral history interview with Louis Zapata, 1997 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn 8/6/81, Pres. Anwar Sadat and Rep. Jim Wright (T-30123) Jimmy Carter Library
referencedIn Seals, Woodrow, 1917-1990. Judge Woodrow Seals Papers, 1941-1990 [Part 2] Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Libary
referencedIn Biography -- Wright, Jim. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Patricia Harris Papers, 1924-1983, (bulk 1977-1980) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn 7/14/81, Sandra Day O'Connor (T-29804) Jimmy Carter Library
creatorOf Wells, Blanche. Papers, 1944-1973, (bulk 1947-1966). University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives Collection. 1931 - 1968. Congressional Correspondence Files Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
referencedIn Minneapolis (Minn.). Office of the City Coordinator. Subject files of the city coordinator, 1982-1992 (bulk 1988-1992). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Carlos Federico Diaz Alejandro Papers, 1957-1985. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Bustamante, Albert Garza,. Oral history interview with Albert Garza Bustamante, 2004 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Harris, Patricia, 1924-1985. Patricia Harris papers, 1950-1983 (bulk 1977-1980). Library of Congress
referencedIn Díaz Alejandro, Carlos Federico. Carlos Federico Díaz Alejandro papers, 1957-1985. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn McCurdy, Dave, $d1950-. Congressional papers, 1980-1994. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
creatorOf Rapoport, Bernard, 1917-. Papers [microform], 1950-1976. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Lucey, Patrick J., 1918-. Papers, 1935-2003. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Hall, Walter G. (Walter Gardner), 1907-. Walter Gardner Hall papers, 1923-1990. Rice University, Fondren Library
referencedIn Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers, 1979-1991, 1984-1990 Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Arizona Common Cause. Arizona Common Cause records, 1970-1993. Arizona State University Libraries
referencedIn Chiles, H. E. Oral history interview with Harrell Edmund ("Eddie") Chiles, 1980 January 25, February 7, July 1, and September 9. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Carr, Waggoner, 1918-. Papers, 1945-1985, 1950-1975. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Arizona Common Cause. corporateBody
associatedWith Bustamante, Albert Garza, person
associatedWith Carr, Waggoner, 1918- person
associatedWith Chiles, H. E. person
associatedWith Democratic Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Díaz Alejandro, Carlos Federico. person
associatedWith Díaz Alejandro, Carlos Federico. person
correspondedWith Hall, Walter Gardner person
correspondedWith Harris, Patricia, 1924-1985. person
associatedWith Lucey, Patrick J., 1918-. person
associatedWith McCurdy, Dave, $d1950- person
associatedWith Minneapolis (Minn.). Office of the City Coordinator. corporateBody
associatedWith Rapoport, Bernard, 1917- person
associatedWith Seals, Woodrow Bradley person
associatedWith Seals, Woodrow Bradley person
associatedWith Smith, Dennis A. person
employeeOf Texas christian university corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army Air Forces corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House corporateBody
almaMaterOf University of Texas at Austin. corporateBody
almaMaterOf Weatherford College corporateBody
associatedWith Wells, Blanche. person
associatedWith Zapata, Louis (José Luis Zapata-Miranda), 1934- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Dallas TX US
Fort Worth TX US
Fort Worth TX US
Weatherford TX US
Army officers
Professors (teacher)
State Representative
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
Representatives, U.S. Congress--Texas


Birth 1922-12-22

Death 2015-05-06





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