Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents Note

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series one: City of Dallas records, 1954-1961, undated

Series two: R.L. Thornton's personal papers, 1955

Series three: State Fair of Texas records, 1955

Series four: Visual Materials, 1941-1959, undated

Dallas Historical Society

R. L. Thornton papers



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Thornton, Robert Lee
Title: R.L. Thornton papers
Dates: 1941-1961, undated
Dates (Bulk): 1955-1957, 1959
Abstract: R. L. Thornton was a major figure in the civic life of Dallas during the early to mid-20th century, particularly through his involvement in the Mercantile National Bank, the State Fair of Texas, and in his role as mayor of the city. The R. L. Thornton Papers reflects this through the archival and visual materials related to Thornton's role as mayor of Dallas and as president of the State Fair of Texas, the visual materials that relate to Mercantile National Bank. The majority of the materials found within this collection are correspondence, although there are also reports, booklets, newspaper clippings, certificates, documents, photographs, and negatives.
Identification: 90.5; (14 under A.90.5, 1 under V.90.4-V.90.12)
Quantity: 15 boxes
Language: English
Repository: Dallas Historical Society

Biographical Sketch

R. L. Thornton was born near Hico, Texas, on August 10, 1880. After holding a variety of jobs in Dallas, Thornton became president of Stiles, Thornton, and Lund in 1916. The company organized the Dallas County State Bank, which became the Mercantile National Bank during the Great Depression. Thornton served as president of the bank until 1947.

Thornton was involved in the civic life of Dallas, serving as president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce (1933-1936), a director of the Texas Centennial Exposition (1936), an original organizer of the influential Dallas Citizens Council, and as president of the State Fair of Texas (1945-1960). Thornton served as mayor of Dallas from 1953-1961, and his most notable accomplishments include the Forney Dam project, the expansion of Love Field Airport, and the development of a new library, city hall, and the Dallas Memorial Auditorium. Thornton died on February 15, 1964, and a freeway in the city is named in his honor.

Sources: Joan Jenkins Perez, "THORNTON, ROBERT LEE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fth34), accessed July 03, 2014.

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Scope and Contents Note

The R. L. Thornton Papers contains the papers and records generated by Thornton during his time as mayor of Dallas and president of the State Fair of Texas, primarily for the years 1955-1957 and 1959. These materials deal mainly with the City of Dallas and the State Fair of Texas. The bulk of the material in the collection is correspondence, and there are also reports, booklets, newspaper clippings, programs, certificates, documents, photographs, and negatives.

There are five series in the collection: City of Dallas records, R. L. Thornton personal papers, State Fair of Texas records, museum objects, and visual materials.

The first series, City of Dallas records (1954-1961, undated), contains correspondence, reports, booklets, newspaper clippings, programs, certificates, and other documents related to Thornton's interactions with the city of Dallas.

The second series, R. L. Thornton's personal papers (1955), contains correspondence and documents of a more personal nature generated by Thornton.

The third series, State Fair of Texas records (1955-1957), contains correspondence, booklets, newspaper clippings, and other documents related to Thornton's involvement with the State Fair of Texas while serving as president of the organization.

The fourth series, Visual Materials (1941-1959, undated), contains photographs, postcards, negatives, and a copperplate portrait of Thornton. Subject folders include advertisements, buildings, people, and Thornton himself. This series contains materials related to Thornton (both in his private life and when serving as mayor), The Mercantile National Bank, and the City of Dallas in general.

This collection offers insight into the areas of banking, the State Fair of Texas, R. L. Thornton's role as mayor of Dallas, and the history of Dallas.

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Arrangement

The collection is organized into four series:
Folders in alphabetical order, then chronological order.
Series 1: City of Dallas records, 1954-1961, undated
Series 2: R. L. Thornton's personal papers, 1955
Series 3: State Fair of Texas records, 1955-1957
Series 4: Visual Materials, 1941-1959, undated

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Restrictions

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.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Thornton, R. L. (Robert Lee), 1880-1964.
Subjects (Organizations)
Mayors--Texas—Dallas.
City planning--Texas--Dallas.
Mercantile National Bank (Dallas, Tex.)
State Fair of Texas--History.
Subjects
Cotton Bowl game, Dallas.
Dallas Memorial Auditorium.
Distinguished Texans series.
Forney Dam Project.
Places
Forney (Tex.)
Love Field (Dallas, Tex.)
Cotton Bowl, Dallas.
Document Types
Printed materials (object genre)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of the Dallas Historical Society, R.L. Thornton papers.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bank One, Texas National Association.

Processing Information

Duplicates and original housing materials were deaccessioned from the collection, although any duplicate items with written notes or other additional information on them were kept. Collection processed by Joseph Denton.

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Description of Series

Series one: City of Dallas records, 1954-1961, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Annexations, 1955
2-4 Auditorium, 1956-1959
5 Auditorium, City Hall, and library, 1955
6-7 Boards and commissions, 1955,1959
8 Budget, 1955-1956
9-12 Capital improvements, 1955-1961
13-15 City/County Civil Defense and Disaster Commission, 1955-1961
16-17 City/County crime laboratory, 1955-1956
18 City/County hospital, 1955
19-20 City/County projects, 1955
21-24 City Plan Commission, 1955-1959
Box Folder
2 25 City Water Works daily operations, 1956
26 Committees, undated
27 Corporation court, 1956
28 Crime Commission, 1957
29 Crime laboratory, 1955-1957
30 Dallas Municipal Reports, 1956
31 Dallas/Fort Worth Municipal Industrial Commission, 1956
32-33 Downtown Rehabilitation, 1955-1956
34 Election returns, 1955-1956
35-38 Fire Department, 1955-1959
39-43 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - July 1, 1955
Box Folder
3 44 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - July 1, 1955
45-51 City of Dallas - general correspondence - July 31 - December 31, 1955
52-53 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - April 30, 1956
Box Folder
4 54-56 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - April 30, 1956
57-59 City of Dallas - general correspondence - May 1 - July 31, 1956
60 City of Dallas - general correspondence - August 1 - October 1, 1956
Box Folder
5 61 City of Dallas - general correspondence - August 1 - October 1, 1956
62-64 City of Dallas - general correspondence - October 1 - December 31, 1956
65-67 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - March 31, 1957
68 City of Dallas - general correspondence - April 1 - June 30, 1957
Box Folder
6 69-70 City of Dallas - general correspondence - April 1 - June 30, 1957
71-73 City of Dallas - general correspondence - June 1 - September 31 1957
74-76 City of Dallas - general correspondence - October 1 - December 31, 1957
Box Folder
7 77 City of Dallas - general correspondence - October 1 - December 31, 1957
78-80 City of Dallas - general correspondence - January 1 - September 30, 1959
81 City of Dallas - general correspondence - October 1 - December 31, 1959
82-83 City of Dallas - Greater Dallas County League of Municipalities, 1956-1957
84 City of Dallas - Health Center, 1955
Box Folder
8 85 City of Dallas - Health Center, 1956
86 City of Dallas - Krick reports, 1955
87-89 City of Dallas - legal, 1954-1956
90-92 City of Dallas - library, 1956-1975,1959
93-95 City of Dallas - Long Range Water Committee, 1957,1959
96 City of Dallas - Love Field Airport, 1955
Box Folder
9 97-99 City of Dallas - Love Field Airport, 1956-1957,1959
100 City of Dallas - Master Plan, 1957-1958
101-102 City of Dallas - Master Plan Committee, 1955-1956
103 City of Dallas - Park Board, 1956
104 City of Dallas - Park Department, 1959
105 City of Dallas - Parking Commission, 1955, undated
106-108 City of Dallas - Police & Fire Pension Board, 1955-1957
109 City of Dallas - Police Department, 1955
110-112 City of Dallas - Proclamations, greetings, introductions, etc., 1955
Box Folder
10 113-119 City of Dallas - Public Utilities, 1955-1957, 1959
Box Folder
11 120 City of Dallas - Public Utilities, 1959
121-123 City of Dallas - Public Works, 1955-1957
124 City of Dallas - Re: Fluoridation, 1959
125-127 City of Dallas - Reservoir reports, 1955-1957
128 City of Dallas - Rockwall-Forney Dam, 1958
129 City of Dallas - Statewide Water Committee, 1959
130-131 City of Dallas - statistics, 1957-1959
132 City of Dallas - tax rates, 1955
133-134 City of Dallas - Traffic Plan Committee, 1955-1956
135 City of Dallas - Transit Committee, 1955
Box Folder
12 136 City of Dallas - Trinity Water Committee, 1959
137 City of Dallas - water, 1955
138-139 City of Dallas - Water Committee, 1956
140 City of Dallas - West Dallas Revitalization Committee, 1959

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Series two: R.L. Thornton's personal papers, 1955

Box Folder
12 141-142 Personal correspondence, January-July, 1955

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Series three: State Fair of Texas records, 1955

Box Folder
12 143 Agriculture, 1955
144-145 Auditorium, 1955,1957
146-148 Committees, 1955-1957
149-151 Cotton Bowls, 1955-1957
Box Folder
13 152-154 Directors, 1955-1957
155-156 Distinguished Texas Award, 1955-1956
157-159 Garden Center, 1955-1957
160-164 General correspondence, 1955-1957
165-166 Livestock, 1955-1956
Box Folder
14 167 Livestock, 1957
168-170 Musicals, 1955-1957
171 Religious festival, 1955
172-174 Statistical, 1955-1957
175-176 Women's Building, 1955-1956

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Series four: Visual Materials, 1941-1959, undated

Box Folder
V.90.6 1 Mercantile National Bank 33rd Anniversary Celebration, 1949
2 Mercantile National Bank 33rd Anniversary Broadcasts, 1949
3 Dallas SPCA Altitude Chamber, 1955
4 Painting of ballet dancers, 1955
5 Proposed Monorail Line for the State Fair, 1956
6 Dr. Pepper advertisement, undated
7 Excavation of Mercantile National Bank Building, 1941
8 Zoning map for the Downs on Hillcrest Addition, 1955
9 Parkway Motel in Livingston, Montana 1955
10 Hudson's Big Country Store in Colgate, Oklahoma, 1955
11 Mary Hurley Hospital in Colgate, Oklahoma, 1955
12 Daltex Optical Building, 1955
13 Tivoli Amusement Park in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1956
14-19 Rendering plant, 1956
20 Tex Mex. Co. Holiday Inn Hotel, 1957
21 Rogers Electric Supply Company, 1957
22 Mobil gas station, 1959
23 Gulf gas station, 1959
24 Sinclair gas station, 1959
25 Magnolia gas station, 1959
26 Turtle Creek development, 1959
27 Mercantile Bank Building, undated
28 First State Bank Building, undated
29 Stiles, Thornton and Lund Building, undated
30 Downtown buildings, undated
31 Mercantile National Bank -- interior, undated
32 Mercantile National Bank - mosaic and glass, undated
33 Building Lobby, undated
34 Mercantile National Bank - executive foyer, undated
35 Aerial view of Dallas, undated
36 Aerial view of buildings at night, undated
37 Mercantile Motor Bank, undated
38 R. M. Whitford at Newman Hall, 1953
39 Spencer family photograph, 1955
40 Miss Alice in Daisyland, 1956
41 Fujiko Hagawa undated
42 "The Chief", undated
43 People in an office, undated
44 Man approaching a building, undated
45 Man operating an IBM computer, undated
46 R. L. Thornton with military man, 1947
47 Texas Research Foundation banquet, 1952
48 Downtown auditorium, 1954
49-58 Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram's visit, 1955
59 R. L. Thornton with group, 1956
60 Trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 1956
61 Completion of Central Expressway, 1956
62 R. L. Thornton with maple syrup, 1957
63 R. L. Thornton at a table, 1957
64-66 Praetorian Mutual Building groundbreaking, 1959
67 R. L. Thornton sitting on steps, undated
68 Miss Continental Airlines - Dallas, undated
69 Miss Continental Airlines - Los Angeles, undated
70 Miss Continental Airlines - Dallas, undated
71 Miss Continental Airlines - Los Angeles, undated
72 Miss Continental Airlines - Los Angeles and Oakland, undated
73 R. L. Thornton and table of fish, undated
74 R. L. Thornton on a dock, undated
75 R. L. Thornton with Braniff Airways, undated
76 R. L. Thornton at a table, undated
77 Braniff office building ground clearing ceremony, undated
78 67th Annual Convention of the Texas Bankers Association, undated
79 R. L. Thornton at a gathering, undated
80 R. L. Thornton and the Governor undated
81 Young woman being crowned, undated
82 R. L. Thornton tips his hat, undated

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