Dallas Historical Society

George Waverley Briggs Papers

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Briggs, George Waverley
Title: George Waverley Briggs papers
Dates: 1877-1952, undated
Dates (Bulk): 1919-1939
Abstract: George Waverley Briggs was a journalist, banker, and civically-minded man. He was Vice President and Trust Officer the First National Bank in Dallas, Director of the A.H. Belo Corporation, President of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, President of the English Speaking Union, and a Chair on the Texas Centennial Commission. He assisted in re-forming the Philosophical Society of Texas, was a key contributor for the Galveston World War I War Fund, and Commissioner of Insurance and Banking for Texas.
Identification: 61.88
Quantity: 8 boxes, 1 Oversize folder
Language: English
Repository: Dallas Historical Society

Biographical Sketch

George Waverley Briggs was born in Camden, Alabama, on 27 February 1883 to Ritchie Jones Briggs and Alice Rebecca Burford Briggs. He was educated in both private and public schools in San Francisco and Austin, and he attended the University of Texas at Austin for college. Briggs married Lorena Foster of Fort Worth on 20 March 1912. He was known by his middle name Waverley.

Briggs began his business career as a reporter on the "Austin Tribune" in 1905 and then served consecutively as a reporter on the "San Antonio Express," editor of the "Austin Statesman," staff correspondent for "The Dallas Morning News," and editor of the "Galveston News."

In 1909, after a meeting with a chaplain from the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, Briggs wrote a series of articles for the "San Antonio Express" that were ultimately released in a book titled "The Texas Penitentiary." The articles brought the corruption, mismanagement, brutality, and financial issues prevalent in the prison system to the public's attention. This publication resulted in Briggs being appointed a penitentiary commissioner of Texas. Another series of articles written for "The Dallas Morning News" involved a study of city and state housing. This series was published as "The Housing Problem in Texas" in 1911.

During the First World War, Briggs served as Chairman of the Galveston Chapter of the American Red Cross, headed the Galveston War Trade, and organized the War Fund drive for the American Red Cross in the Southwestern states. For his civilian contributions to the Second World War, King George VI of England awarded Briggs the King's Medal.

In 1918, Governor W. P. Hobby named Briggs Commissioner of Insurance and Banking for Texas. In this capacity, Briggs wrote the Digest of Texas Insurance and Banking Laws and was responsible for three major legislative acts—the Texas Trust Act, the Common Trust Fund Act, and the Texas Probate Code.

In 1920, the Briggs moved to Dallas to become Vice President and Trust Officer of the City National Bank and continued in that capacity with the First National Bank in Dallas, the successor of the City National Bank.

He gave consistently his time and talents at a local, state, and national level, participating fully in philanthropic and civic organizations. He held office in many of them, the correspondence of which comprises the majority of this collection. Some of his organizations include:

  • *Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Chair, National Council 1930.
  • *Civil Judicial Council. Briggs was not a lawyer, but he served sixteen years as a lay member of the and cooperated with the State Bar for the enforcement in his vocational field of the restraints of the spirit and the letter of the statutes forbidding the unauthorized practice law.
  • *Critic Club of Dallas.
  • *Dallas Chamber of Commerce. President and Vice President.
  • *Dallas Chapter of English Speaker's Union. President.
  • *Dallas Society for Crippled Children
  • *George Washington Bi-Centennial for Texas. Chair.
  • *Mason. 33° IGH, Knight Templar.
  • *National Economic League. Councilor.
  • *National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Texas Chair.
  • *Pan-American Exposition. Director, Chair of Historical Department.
  • *Philosophical Society of Texas. Treasurer. Briggs was one of the members who, in 1936, formally re-established the group and incorporate it as a non-profit organization. The Society had not been active since Texas became a state in the Union.
  • *Shriner.
  • *Texas Centennial Exposition Commission. Director, Chair of Historical Department.

Briggs was a highly-desired speaker across Texas, speaking at numerous graduation ceremonies and other organizations' events. He was a well-respected and admired member of any community in which he was a member as evidenced by the number of thanks and appreciation letters written to him by colleagues.

Briggs died on July 16, 1957, after a long illness, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

Scope and Contents Note

The George Waverley Briggs Papers consist primarily of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, printed materials, and event memoranda. The materials are of his life as a businessman, predominantly in Dallas, Texas. Notable signatures include President Franklin Roosevelt, Ima Hogg, Admiral Chester A. Nimitz, and Sir Evelyn Wrench as well as Brigg's Dallas contemporaries, such as George Bannerman Dealey, R.L. Thornton, and T.M. Cullum. Also of interest is correspondence mentioning that gas rationing during WWI could prevent large turnouts at public events.

This collection provides substantial insight into the organizational correspondence, planning materials, and news clippings related to Briggs' corporate and civic life. Of note are the Charles Lindbergh Banquet, the Texas Centennial Events, and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The collection includes news clippings of Briggs and his organizational contemporaries and copies of the "Texas State Banking Laws," penned by Briggs. His personal items include a report card from the Bickler Academy of Austin, letters from his father, and birthday greetings from President Franklin Roosevelt. The collection also contains speeches of the time. Some written and delivered by Briggs, while colleagues gave others.

The collection is in three series. The first series focuses on the organizations in which Briggs was involved. Photographs and newspaper clippings also show his civic activities. Furthermore, a large amount of the correspondence is from colleagues thanking Briggs for his civic efforts. The series contains organization membership certificates.

The second series focuses on the personal materials from Briggs' life; although, much of his personal materials are the social events originating from his public work. In addition to correspondence, the series contains printed programs and newspaper clippings, and industry publications. The correspondence in this series is both to and from Briggs. Also available are planning details for the 1927 banquet planned for the Dallas visit of Charles Lindbergh. Briggs was also on the planning committee for the 1936 Texas Centennial, which besides State Fair activities, includes information on President Franklin Roosevelt's visit.

The third series contains speeches. Some are known to be delivered by Briggs; for others, the speaker is unidentified. The speeches are for public events and guest-speaker introductions.

The majority of the correspondence from Briggs is a typed copy of the original.


The collection consists of the civic and business papers of George Waverley Briggs, Dallas businessman. It includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, printed material, photographs, speeches, and event material. Eight boxes. 1877-1952, Undated.
Archives Series 1—Organizations (5 boxes, 58 folders, 1 oversize folder).
Archives Series 2—Personal Materials (4 boxes, 19 folders).
Archives Series 3—Speeches (1 box, 8 folders).


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Publication Rights: Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the staff of the Dallas Historical Society.

Copyright Statement: It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the Dallas Historical Society assumes no responsibility.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Moody, Daniel James, 1893-1966.
Stephenson, Coke, 1888-1975.
Hobby, William P. 1878-1964.
Cullum, T. M.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Dealey, George Bannerman, 1859-1946.
Brown, Edwy Rolfe, 1868-1942.
Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974.
Subjects (Organizations)
A.H. Belo Corporation.
City Club (Dallas, Tex.)
Critic Club (Dallas, Tex.)
Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
Dallas Morris Plan Company.
Dallas Vocational School.
English-Speaking Union.
Philosophical Society of Texas.
Texas Centennial Commission.
Texas Children's Hospital.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Association for the Promotion of the United Confederate Veterans' Reunion and Other Reunions, Inc.
Confederate Reunion Committee.
Adolphus Hotel (Dallas, Tex.)
Baker Hotel (Dallas, Tex.)
Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
State of Texas Building (Dallas, Tex.)
Hall of State.
Banking, Finance & Insurance.
Texas Centennial (1936: Dallas, Tex.)
War board
Document Types
Printed materials.

Related Material

  • A.42.39
  • A.42.129
  • A.42.201
  • A.43.71
  • A.53.11
  • A.57.80
  • A.72.7
  • A.77.80
  • A.78.56
  • A.88.8

Separated Material

Newspaper clippings copies were reproduced on acid-free paper, and the original clippings were discarded. Duplicates of clippings and printed materials were also discarded.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of the Dallas Historical Society, George Waverley Briggs papers.

Acquisition Information

Gift, 1966. Accessioned as 66.81.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kristi Nedderman.

Description of Series

Organizations, 1912-1952

Box Folder
1 1-3 Banking, 1920-1952, undated
Correspondence, resolutions. State banking laws of Texas.
4 Banquet for Charles Lindbergh, 1927
Correspondence, invitation, chart of banquet procedure, introductory speech, menu, Lindbergh Day schedule of city events, committee member list, event program, and seating chart. Signature of Governor Dan Moody, Coordinating committee ribbons. [Museum items removed]--See M.61.88.80-82
5 Belo Corporation/Dallas Morning News, 1937-1952, Undated
6-11 Chamber of Commerce, 1922-1926
Correspondence, meeting minutes.
Box Folder
2 12-15 Chamber of Commerce, 1927-1929
Correspondence, telegrams, meeting minutes, news clippings, amendments of Chamber of Commerce bylaws, Appropriations Committee report (1929), Constitution, correspondence, Federal Income Tax Texas 1925, documentation on instating a state income tax, blank Chamber of Commerce letterhead - 2 versions with Briggs as president, and publications.
16 Chamber of Commerce: Aviation, 1929
Correspondence, report, expenses.
17 Chamber of Commerce: Census file, 1927-1929
Correspondence, dues received and a prospective membership list.
18-19 Chamber of Commerce: Correspondence, January-June, 1929
Correspondence, telegrams, pamphlets, news clippings.
Box Folder
3 20-21 Chamber of Commerce: Correspondence, July-December, 1929
Correspondence, telegrams, pamphlets, news clippings.
22 Chamber of Commerce: Hoover's Texas trip, 1928
Correspondence for impending President-elect Hoover visit.
23 Chamber of Commerce: Meeting minutes, 1925-1929
Correspondence, meeting minutes.
24 Chamber of Commerce: Report on the mission to Washington and NY, 1929
Report on the mission to Washington and NY by Dallas Chamber of Commerce regarding the aviation industry, meeting minutes.
25 Christian Unity Conference, 1920-1921
26 City Club, 1943-1944
Event programs.
27 Civic Federation of Dallas, 1921-1922
28 Community Trust, 1920-1930
29 Confederate Reunion, 1925-1926
Correspondence, receipts, committee reports, event programs, news clippings. Some handwritten letters.
Box Folder
4 30-31 Confederate Reunion, 1925
Correspondence, receipts, committee reports, event programs, news clippings, bound meeting minutes, official program notes. Some handwritten letters.
32-33 Critic Club, 1924-1944, undated
Speeches. "Capital Punishment in Texas,""The Civil and Religious Warrant for Patriotism" [multiple copies with edits], "Sound Money and its Uses" [multiple copies, one with edits], "A Layman's View of the 'Fight' on the Court,""The Continental Significance of the Texas Revolution,""The Stranger in the Heavens,""Implementing the Golden Rule Among Nations,""Changing Ideals of Government,""The Community Trust,""Hidden Aspects of the New Order of Business,""Stubborn Factors in Unemployment,""Would the Teaching of a Course in the World's Religions by a Desirable Innovation in our Public Schools,""Skeleton Outline of a Hypothetical Plan for a New Judicial System for Texas""Curtailment of Federal Spending" [multiple copies, one with edits]. Rules and Regulations of The Critic Club, Resolution on Charles Clinton Walsh, The Passing of the Years, a Reminiscence of The Critic Club, resolutions.
34 Dallas Historical Society, 1946-1948
35 Dallas Morris Plan Company, 1921-1926, undated
Balance sheets, correspondence.
36 Dallas Vocational School, 1924-1926, undated
Donation lists/sums, correspondence [Removed over-sized visual. See A.61.88.36 OS].
37 English Speaking Union, 1926-1930
Correspondence, Kipling Poem "The Ballad of East and West."
38-40 General organization correspondence, 1912-1930
Correspondence, news clippings, certificates of appreciation, speech about William Martin Thornton, schedule for air celebration and christening of Love Field (5/6/26), Dallas Airports Utilities Corporation balance sheets, a document outlining presidential campaign for 1928, YMCA expansion reasons.
41 Institute for Social Education, 1925
42 Insurance and Banking, 1919-1921
Correspondence, news clippings. [Some handwritten]
43 Leaving Galveston and War Board, 1917-1918, undated
Proclamation by Governor Hobby for 2-11 November to be Red Cross Week, correspondence, telegrams, news clippings. [Some handwritten]
44 Membership cards, 1911-1946
Dallas Community Council, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Club Social "La Bohemia," The Source Research Council, Texas Civil Judicial Council, American Prison Association, Texas National Advisory Committee, Aviation Cadets of America.
45 Otto Kahn visit, 1926
46 Philosophical Society of Texas, 1940-1946
Event programs. [Visual item removed]
47 Visuals, 1939
Dinner in Hall of State on December 5, 1939. 2 photographs. [visual items]
48 Prison Reform correspondence, 1923-1924
Correspondence. Contribution list
49-50 Texas Centennial, 1926-1936
Correspondence, schedule of appropriations, copy of the bill appropriating $5M for the Centennial, copy of roll call of final passage of the bill, guest lists, seating arrangements, Secret Service seating, speaker and music lists, luncheon schedule/notes, intro material for FDR, designation of route/order from Union Station to Centennial grounds to Adolphus, news clippings.
51 Texas Children's Hospital, 1927-1929
52 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., 1925-1928
Correspondence, receipts, deposit receipts and donor names, news clippings. [Some handwritten]
M.61.88.80-82 Banquet for Charles Lindbergh, 1927
Coordinating committee ribbons. [Museum items]

Personal Materials

Box Folder
5 53 Event materials 1, 1890-1929
Box Folder
6 54 Event materials 2, 1930-1939
M.61.88.83 Event materials 2, 1934
Box Folder
6 55 Event materials 3, 1930-1939
56 Event materials 4, 1940-1950
57 General correspondence, 1877-1947
V.61.88.86 Visuals 1, 1947
Box Folder
6 58-62 Newspaper clippings, 1911-1944, undated
Box Folder
7 63-65 Newspaper clippings, 1912-1940
Box Folder
5 53 Event materials 1, 1890-1929
Box Folder
6 54 Event materials 2, 1930-1939
Programs. [Museum item removed]
M.61.88.83 Event materials 2, 1934
1934 State Fair Gold Badge All-Access Pass. Personalized for Briggs. See M.61.88.83. [Museum item]
Box Folder
6 55 Event materials 3, 1930-1939
56 Event materials 4, 1940-1950
57 General correspondence, 1877-1947
Correspondence, including both letter from President Franklin Roosevelt with signature and a telegram from FDR wishing him happy birthday. Other items not clearly belonging elsewhere, such as certificates.
V.61.88.86 Visuals 1, 1947
Goes with Harriett Pittman's letter from National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
Box Folder
6 58-62 Newspaper clippings, 1911-1944, undated
Articles and clips mostly related to Briggs or his business and organizational colleagues.
Box Folder
7 63-65 Newspaper clippings, 1912-1940
Articles and clips mostly related to Briggs or his business and organizational colleagues.
66 Newspaper clippings, 1915
Content specifically related to the 1915 Galveston storm.
67 Publication clippings, 1920-1929, undated
Articles and clips mostly related to Briggs or his business and organizational colleagues.
68-70 Publications, 1901-1939
Trade and industry-related magazines and pamphlets.
Box Folder
8 71 Publications, 1940-1950, undated
Trade and industry-related magazines and pamphlets. Old Santa Fe in Photogravure published by Fred Harvey.
72 Public speaking class, 1923


Box Folder
8 73 Radio scripts, 1945-1946
WFAA programs.
74 Speeches 1, 1927-1942, undated
Includes "Sawdust and Spangles,""Modernization of the Law of Trusts,""Three Curls" [poem], "A Tale of the Land of Nod,""Reading Course," news clippings.
75 Speeches 2, 1917-1943, undated
Includes "The New Concept of Business,""Texas Ports,""The Sovereign Test of Greatness,""Banking and the Problems of Peace,""The Banker's Responsibility to his Country,""Our Duty to the AEF,""Reflection on Independence Day,""A Call to Service,""Thrift Campaign Over Radio,""Curtailment of Federal Spending,""Service: The Genius of Progress,""The Law of Promise,""Thoughts on Armistice Day,""Thankful for a City's Gifts,""Welcoming the Governor of the Federal Reserve Board,""The Virtue of Co-Operation,""The Spirit of Progress,""Reflections on the Rose Festival,""The Legacy of the Pioneer," news clippings.
76 Speeches 3, 1915-1938
Includes "Peace and Prosperity,""He Profits Most Who Serves Best,""The End of Life,""Achieving the Highest Profit,""The Great Physician,""The Impulse of Social Progress,""A Toast to Aesculapius,""The Dallas Spirit,""Heroes in the Making,""The Force of Cooperation,""The University Man in Civic Life,""The First World Flight,""Insurance Agents' Law,""Working Together for the Common Good,""The Intercoastal Canal as a Means of Naval and Military Defense,""The Need of the Hour,""A Children's Hospital for Texas,""The Press and the Fight for National Health" delivered by GWB to the Southern Sociological Congress is noted as being the first speech written/delivered by GWB.
77 Speeches 4, 1923-1938, undated
"Investment Accounts and Pertinent Policies,""Developing the Trust Business,""Economic Origins of the Texas Trust Act,""The Distinction of the Age,""Cooperating for a Common End,""The Challenge of a New Deal."
78 Speeches 5, 1917-1938, undated
Includes "The Texas Centennial,""If I Forget Thee, O America,""Leadership of the National Council,""A Call to Service,""Vitalizing Community Service,""Society's Interest in Character-Building,""The Lesson of Armistice Day."