University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Dan Moody Papers

Title: Dan Moody papers
Dates: ca. 1870s-1990 (Bulk 1931-1959)
Identification: camh-arc-004140
Extent: 175 linear feet (Extent is approximate)
Language: English
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Biographical / Historical

Daniel J. Moody was born on June 1, 1893, in Taylor, Texas. He graduated from Taylor High School and attended the University of Texas from 1910 to 1914, when he was admitted to the bar. He began a legal practice in Taylor with Harris Melasky, which was interrupted by his service in World War I. He served as second lieutenant and captain in the Texas National Guard and as second lieutenant in the United States Army. After the war, Moody became the youngest person elected to several public offices; he served as county attorney of Williamson County, 1920-1922; district attorney of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District, 1922-1925; attorney general of Texas, 1925-1927; and governor of Texas for two terms, 1927-1931. He was particularly known for prosecuting and sentencing to prison a group of people with ties to the Ku Klux Klan during his term as district attorney.

In 1931, after his service as governor, Moody remained in Austin and again conducted a private law practice. He served as special assistant to the United States attorney general beginning in 1935 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and also represented the governor of Texas in martial law cases in the mid 1930s. He ran for the United States Senate in 1942 but was defeated.

Moody served on various committees of the State Bar of Texas. He was honored by the University of Texas School of Law in 1959 when they dedicated Law Day activities to him. He also served as a trustee of the University of Texas Law School Foundation.

Dan Moody married Mildred Paxton on April 20, 1926. The couple had two children, Nancy Paxton Moody and Dan Moody, Jr. Although some sources in print and online identify him as "Daniel James Moody, Jr.", according to Nancy, this is not, and never was, his name. Family records show that at birth he was named Daniel J. Moody, with the J. being solely an initial. According to 1920 newspaper reports, at some time prior to 1915 he shortened his name to Dan, which is the name he went by for the rest of his life and which is inscribed upon his tombstone in the State Cemetery in Austin. Moody died in Austin on May 22, 1966.


Dan Moody Papers, ca. 1870s-1990 (Bulk 1931-1959), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Handbook of Texas Online, Richard T. Fleming, "MOODY, DANIEL JAMES, JR.," accessed July 17, 2019,

Scope and Contents

The Dan Moody papers, ca. 1870s-1990 (Bulk 1931-1959), are composed of legal files, campaign materials, photographs, and professional and personal materials documenting the life and career of Texas Governor and Attorney General Dan Moody.

Legal files make up the bulk of the collection and include court transfer files, bound briefs, correspondence files, accounts and law books files, legislation files, contributions and invitations files, Moody Foundation files, miscellaneous files, and a court transfer file index. These materials document state politics and law as well as an important public service career from the 1910s to 1950s. The papers also concern the Moody Foundation, established by William Lewis Moody, Jr. and continued by his daughter Mary Elizabeth Moody Northen and Northen's nephew, Robert L. Moody Sr.

Campaign materials document Moody's 1926 and 1929 gubernatorial campaigns and include photographs, campaign correspondence, letters of recommendation for appointments, names of applicants for positions in the Attorney General's race, and letters of endorsement.

Photographic materials include approximately 100 snapshots, portraits, etc. of Dan Moody, Moody with others, Moody hunting, portraits of others, and a campaign lantern slide.

Correspondence, clippings, and publications pertain to Moody's positions as County attorney of Williamson county, 1920-1922; District Attorney of 26th Judicial District, 1922-1925; Attorney General of Texas, 1925-1927; and Governor of Texas, 1927-1931. Correspondence, personal and business files, clippings, sound recordings, photographs, books, maps, and artifacts pertain to Governor Dan Moody, the Dan Moody family, and Texas politics and history, including Moody's interests and activities in Texas politics, oil, and gas.

Scrapbooks and original personal papers, documents, clippings, printed announcements, photographs, and artifacts additionally relate to Governor Moody's life and race for governor in 1926. These records are particularly strong in documenting the Governor's 1926 campaign, both in terms of canvassing the state and in his opposition to Mrs. Ferguson, who was then governor.

Archivist's note:

Materials in this archive were received at the Briscoe Center in multiple deposits between 1985 and 1991. Original box inventories that accompanied materials, when available, have been transcribed to the inventory section of this finding aid.


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Attorneys general
Document Types
legal documents

Separated Material

Some materials have been separated to the Library Unit and to the Artifacts and Material Culture Unit.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

This collection was partially processed by archives staff, 1985, 1990. Subsequent revisions were made by Jessi Fishman, August 2019.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Inventory (click to view PDF)