A Pictorial History of Texas Politics

If a picture tells a thousand words, then there’s countless stories to be told about Texas history.

By Laura Rice October 12, 2015 9:30 am| ,

The album might include photos with torn edges of people like Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, or Lawrence “Sul” Ross, with short descriptions of their roles in the creation of Texas. It would also likely include candid images of more modern political powerhouses such as Ann Richards and George W. Bush.

That’s exactly what author and Texas political junkie Chuck Bailey has put together. “Picturing Texas Politics” tracks the state’s political history through photos from the mid-1800s to almost present-day.

It wasn’t until the modern era, the 1940s or so, that you actually see politicians embracing photography as a tool used in politics. Bailey includes in the book a picture of Franklin D. Roosevelt shaking hands with Lyndon B. Johnson. But, unlike the famous version of the photo, there’s someone in-between them.

Bailey says when LBJ was running for the U.S. Senate in the 1941 special election, he wanted FDR’s support. “He had a picture made with FDR and Governor Jimmy Allred was in-between the two of them,” he says. “When the actual advertising for the campaign came out, Governor Allred was gone, and they just had Lyndon shaking hands with Franklin Roosevelt.”

Bailey says his favorite photo in the book is also an LBJ one: he’s sitting in a meeting in Fort Worth at the Blackstone Hotel in 1948, when he was running for the Senate against Coke Stevenson. “It was the landslide Lyndon election,” Bailey says.

“In that picture the state democratic executive committee are counting votes and Lyndon is literally on the edge of his seat watching those votes being counted,” he says. “I just love that photo.”

University of Texas

Gov. Ann Richards and Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock had a love-hate relationship as this photo, circa 1991-93, clearly shows.