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Thomas Gayle Morris Congressional papers

Identifier: Ms-0031

Scope and Content

Thomas Gayle Morris was appointed to fill the vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives created by the death of John C. Dempsey in 1958. Morris's congressional papers primarily cover the time span 1958-1968. Materials contained in the collection cover only Morris's tenure in congress and do not include documents from his previous legislative experience in the New Mexico House of Representatives or his later ranching, banking and political activities. A small amount of material from Dempsey is included in the collection.

In the arrangement of the congressional papers, an effort has been made to maintain the Congressman's office filing scheme. The papers have been divided into two broad categories employed by Morris: Permanent Files and Annual Files. A third series of materials consists of Photographs. Each of these series has been further divided. Few alterations in subseries and folder headings have been made from those used in Morris's office.

The Permanent Files series is divided into ten subseries: Academies, Armed Services Cases, Veteran's Cases, Employment, Individual Files, MC Legislation, Post Offices, General Reference Files, Social Security Cases, and Water Projects. Included in the Annual Files series are eight subseries: Campaign Materials, Departments, General Files, Legislature, New Mexico, Pink Files, Personal Files, and Press Releases, Speeches, and Statements.

Permanent Files contain case files, relating to armed service discharges and transfers, employment applications for summer jobs and federal appointments and service academy applicants. Additional case files are found in the Social Security Cases and Veterans Cases subseries. These concern individual constituents problems with claims handled by Morris's staff. Because of the personal nature of the case files, their research use is restricted.

Individual File subseries consists of correspondence concerning dealings of various individuals with the Congressman. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by the individual's name.

The MC Legislation subseries deals with specific legislation before Congress. It is arranged by bill numbers. Correspondence is included in each bill folder. Materials such as newspaper commentary, supplemental information from federal agencies and departments, and staff memos on contacts with other congressional staffs also are included.

The Post Office subseries consists of general information on Postmaster appointments. Besides Civil Services registers listing eligible applicants, the files contain correspondence between the Congressman, his staff and potential applicants for such positions. Endorsements from precinct chairmen and letters of recommendations for individual candidates are included. The Post Office subseries also contains communications with the Post Office Department concerning the opening and closing of the post offices and the construction of new structures.

The General Reference Files subseries is a compilation of materials on various topics that were assembled for the Congressmen's use. This subseries consists primarily of statements of the Congressman's positions on specific issues, as well as data for use in supporting these statements. Such information is arranged alphabetically by topic.

Because of the importance of water to New Mexico, water projects were a particular concern of Congressman Morris. Specific projects described in the Water Project subseries were the Colorado River Storage Project and the Red River Water Project. Maps, charts, diagrams and specifications, and photographs are included in the Water Project files. Among correspondence contained within the subseries is an extensive portion concerning the Upper Colorado River Commission.

Annual Files: Campaign Materials consists of materials used by the congressman in his 1960, 1962, 1964, and 1968 campaigns. The bulk of this series is correspondence, especially letters assessing the political situation, and thank-you notes for courtesies rendered during the course of the campaign. Also included are policy statements, raw research material for speeches and files on action taken by the Congressman on topics that had the potential to be campaign issues. Issues covered are the Labor Reform Bill, the Farm Bill, the Prayer Bill, defense, military installations, poverty, wheat, White Sands, agriculture, civil rights, foreign affairs, and Vietnam. Many items in this series were provided by the Democratic National Committee. Such documents, like speech cards, reflect national issues and Democratic policy positions. The Campaign Materials subseries also contains brochures, bumper stickers, campaign cards and posters, publicity articles and clipping campaign itineraries, press releases and speeches associated with political campaigns.

The largest subseries in the collection is the Departments subseries. These files contain communications and data from various federal agencies and departments. Topics covered in this subseries are diverse. The Departments subseries is arranged by federal agency and chronologically thereunder.

General Files consist of materials related to the administration of the Congressman's office. Specific items found in this subseries are constituent request for government publications and flags, telephone and Western Union bills. Housekeeping memos from the Dispersing Office, the Clerk's Office, Stationary Room, Sergeant at Arms, the Doorkeeper and the Democratic leadership are found in this subseries. Information on the Library of Congress and its congressional services are arranged in the section along with news media requests, federal publications, a "pest" file, and information on the John Birch Society. Additional materials are arranged in a general alphabetical file.

Another large subseries is Legislation. These files contain materials from the Congressional committees Morris served on, as well as documents issued by other committees. Besides reports, both draft and published forms, this segment contains transcripts of hearings, communications from federal agencies and departments, correspondence, and raw data showing how national policy and legislation would affect New Mexico. Files in the subseries have been arranged by the name of the Congressional committee and further divided by topic and time period.

Correspondence and official business transacted with various New Mexico state departments and organizations are found in the New Mexico subseries. Files are arranged by organization name or topic.

The Pink Files subseries consists of carbon copies of correspondence found in other files and is so named because the letters are typed on pink paper. These files are arranged by year and alphabetically thereunder by correspondent name.

Personal materials and notes specially related to Morris's Congressional seat are contained in the Personal Files subseries. This subseries contains tax returns, bills and receipts, travel brochures, invitations, and cards. Also included is correspondence concerning Morris's son's schools, letters to friends, memos to the Albuquerque and Tucumcari offices, and files on Presidential inaugurations.

The Press Releases, Speeches & Statements subseries covers only a two year period from 1966-1968. Many statements prior to this time period can be found in the reference series.

The final box in the collection contains unidentified film recordings.


  • 1954 - 1969

Access and Use Restrictions

All materials from the Morris collection must be requested in advance and screened before use. The following series are completely restricted: Employment; Service academies admission; Navy discharges and transfers; Social Security; and Veterans.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

The copyrights possessed in this collection by the donor have been transferred and assigned to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

Thomas Gayle Morris, Democrat, of Tucumcari, New Mexico; born in Eastland County, Texas, August 20, 1919; graduate of University of New Mexico, class of 1948, receiving a B. S. Degree in civil engineering; married Corinne Stevens; children Thomas G. Morris, II, born March 7, 1955, and Elizabeth Jane, born July 18, 1962; served in the United States Navy as an enlisted man from November 12, 1937, to March 22, 1944; engaged in farming and ranching in Quay County, New Mexico.

Elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives and served continuously from January 1953 to December 31, 1958; chairman of the New Mexico Interstate Streams Commission; member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, D. A. V., American Legion, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, National Reclamation Association, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, B. P. O. E., Lions International.

Appointed to the 86th Congress on November 4, 1958, to fill the unexpired term of John C. Dempsey, reelected to the 87th, 88th and 89th Congresses. Member of the House Committee on Appropriations, assigned to the Subcommittee on Agriculture; and Member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Chairman of Subcommittee on Communities.


160 (ca.) linear ft.

Language of Materials



Congressional papers of a Tucumcari, New Mexico, Democrat who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1958-1968. The collection consist chiefly of the Congressman's office files which contain correspondence, printed materials, government documents, financial records, and photographs. Included are campaign materials, case files, congressional hearing transcripts, research notes, reports, speeches, press statements, and other records pertaining to the legislative branch of the government.
Guide to the Thomas Gayle Morris Congressional papers
Processed by Randy Gaylord, Jim Dovan, Judith Walker, Lolie Reta, Sandy Cook, Veronica Soto. Revised by Marah deMeule and Christine Moreland-Bruhnke. Revised by Rick Hendricks, 2009.
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA