University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the Judge Ruby Kless Sondock Scrapbook and Photographs

Overview of the Collection

Creator Sondock, Ruby K.
Collection Title Judge Ruby Kless Sondock Scrapbook and Photographs
Dates 1930-1983
Identification 2001-015
Physical Description 3.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials English
Repository University of Houston Libraries
M.D. Anderson Library, 4333 University Drive, Houston, TX, 77204-2000, URL:, Phone: 713-743-9750

Biographical Information:

Born April 26, 1926 in Houston, Texas, Ruby Kless Sondock attended Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri for two years before marrying Lt. Melvin A. Sondock in Houston, Texas in 1944. Years after having a family, Sondock attended the University of Houston Law Center and graduated as valedictorian of the 1962 law class. She was admitted to the Texas State Bar the year before her graduation from law school. Following law school, Sondock practiced law for seven years. Gov. Preston Smith appointed her judge of Harris County Domestic Relations Court No. 5 in 1973, making her the first woman in Harris County to hold a district level judgeship. She held the position for four years until Gov. Dolph Briscoe appointed her in 1977 to the 234th District Court; she became the first woman to hold that distinction in Harris County.

Sondock was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by Gov. William P. Clements following the death of associate justice James G. Denton, who died of a heart attack on June 10, 1982. When the fifty-six year old Sondock was sworn in on June 25, she became the first woman justice on the court since 1925, when a special all-woman court served briefly to hear a single case involving the Woodmen of the World. Sondock completed Denton’s term, which ended December 31, 1982, and did not seek election. Instead she returned to the 234th District Court, to which she won reelection without opposition the following November.

Following her judicial service, Sondock began working as a private mediator in Houston. Her alma mater, the University of Houston Law Center, hosts a biennial lecture series in her name, "The Ruby Kless Sondock Lecture in Legal Ethics."

Scope and Contents

Housed in 2 boxes, this two-series collection primarily documents the year of Judge Sondock’s appointment to the Texas Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in 1982. Most notably, this collection includes a 25 in by 17 in, 96-page scrapbook consisting of clippings, photographs, invitations, programs, correspondence, and congratulatory notes regarding her 1982 appointment. Additionally, this collection contains childhood photographs of Judge Sondock from the 1930s.


Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
Texas. Supreme Court
University of Houston. Law Center -- Alumni and alumnae
Genre/Form of Material:
Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Personal Name:
Sondock, Ruby K.
Topical Term:
Judges -- Texas

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Judge Ruby Kless Sondock Scrapbook, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. To cite a specific item from this collection, please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting.

Acquisition Information:


Detailed List of Contents

Professional Life

Box Item
1 1 Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Scrapbook 1982-1983
Box Folder
2 1 Supreme Court Induction 1982
2 Miscellaneous Judiciary clippings 1982

Personal Life

Box Folder
2 3 Photographs undated, 1937-1938
4 Wedding invitation 1944