University Archives and Special Collections, The University of Texas at Tyler

Guide to the William M. Steger Papers

Overview of the Collection

Creator Collector Steger, William M.
Collection Title William M. Steger Papers
Bulk Dates 1952-2006
Abstract Materials in this collection consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, World War II flight documents, pamphlets, campaign documents, financial and planning documents relating to special occasions from 1983 to 2005, case files and appealed cases, certificates, genealogical information, schedules and calendars from 1971 to 2006, and various memorabilia. Donated by Mrs. Ann Steger, most of these items fall under the years 1952-2006 and mainly reference Judge Steger’s judicial career.
Identification MS/UASC.MS.003
Physical Description 11.00
Language of Materials English
Repository The University of Texas at Tyler University Archives and Special Collections Department 3900 University Dr Tyler, TX, URL:

Administrative History:

William (Bill) M. Steger was born on August 22, 1920 in Dallas, TX. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot, flying 56 missions over Italy. After the war, he served out his enlistment as a test pilot at Elgin Air Force Base. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Dallas where he enrolled in law school at Southern Methodist University. While working toward his law degree, Steger met Ann Hollandsworth; they were married on February 14, 1948. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1950 and, interested in the oil industry, Steger moved his family to Longview, Texas where he entered private practice.

In 1952, Steger became the Eisenhower-Nixon campaign chair for Gregg County. After Eisenhower won reelection, he appointed Steger to the position of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in 1953. This appointment won the approval of the powerful Senate majority leader, (then) Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Steger moved his family (now with a young son, Merritt "Reed" Steger) to Tyler, Texas - the primary seat of the district court. During his time as U.S. Attorney, Steger tried cases before Judge Bill Sheehy, who served as the sole judge for the Eastern District of Texas at that time. Steger spent much of his time prosecuting bank embezzlers, including the First National Bank of Lewisville case that resulted in the conviction of two female bank employees for five years. He resigned from his position as U.S.Attorney in 1959 to return to private practice and to run for Governor of Texas.

In 1960, the race for governor pitted Steger against incumbent Price Daniel. While Texas was, at this point, a state which favored Democratic politicians, Steger performed well in the election. In fact, the support he garnered in the governor's race demonstrated the need for a Republican primary in Texas, something which had been heretofore deemed unnecessary. In 1962, Steger ran for United States Congress and - despite another respectable election performance - lost again to incumbent Congressman Lindley Beckworth. Notwithstanding these losses, Steger remained active and influential in Republican Party politics and was influential in the party's continued development. In 1969, he was elected Chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

President Richard Nixon appointed Steger to the federal bench as a United States District Judge to the Eastern District of Texas on December 1,1970. During his time on the federal bench, Steger presided over 372 cases. Among these were several important RICO cases, the most famous being United States v. Rex Cauble. While he served most of his years at the Tyler location, he did hear cases for a brief time out of the Beaumont court (1971 - 1978). When reaching 65 years of age in 1987, he took senior status and continued to serve the Court on a full time basis. Steger died on June 4, 2006 and, in honor of his service to the community and the judiciary, the United States Congress passed a bill renaming the federal courthouse in Tyler, Texas as the "William M. Steger Courthouse and Federal Building."

Scope and Contents

Records and ephemera in this collection are divided into four series: Personal Life, Political Career, Legal Career, and Memorabilia. While a few items date back to Steger's childhood in Dallas during the 1920s and his service in World War II, the bulk of materials relates to both his political and legal careers.

Personal materials include his pilot logs (from his service in the Army Air Corps) family photographs, and genealogy records. Also included in this series are correspondence(from prominent political leaders as well as from former law clerks and personal friends), and news clippings (mainly dealing with Steger's fishing hobby). While not collected by Steger per se, his obituary and items from his memorial services (collected by his wife, Ann Steger) are also incorporated within this series.

The political series includes newspaper clippings, photographs, and campaign documents from the time Steger served as Gregg County campaign chair for President Eisenhower in 1952. Also present are materials marking Steger’s bids for Governor and Congress in 1960 and 1962 respectively, as well as his appointment as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 1969-70. Interesting to note are the many photographs taken with political characters and autographed by them.

In the series of materials concerning his legal career are news clippings and correspondence from his time as a United States Attorney, though the bulk of materials relates to his time as United States District Judge. The latter includes: photographs of Steger with current and former law clerks, case files, appealed cases, calendars, schedules, and statistical reports regarding trials. Ceremonial documents (marking anniversaries, official portrait presentations, etc) are also included. Lastly, the series includes payment and service records for businesses around Tyler, guest lists, signed guest books, and photographs from various events.

The final series of memorabilia is not documentary, but rather contains ephemera relating to Steger's various interests, hobbies, and personal achievements. These include models of World War II Spitfires, bricks from Green Acres Baptist Church’s 50th Anniversary, political campaign buttons, portraits, robes, etc. Some of this material is on permanent display at the William M. Steger Federal Building and United States Courthouse and at the University of Texas at Tyler Archives and Special Collections.

Arrangement of Materials:

The arrangement of the papers is topical, alphabetical, and chronological. The first series encompasses the entirety of Steger's personal life, while the second and third are arranged chronologically, following the natural break of his careers. Materials from the fourth series exist as an itemized inventory that locates individual items.


Conditions Governing Access:


Conditions Governing Use:

Most documents are in the public domain. Copyright restrictions on some published materials may apply.

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

Scrapbook documents and photographs cannot be released from the pages and a few are glued together. Other documents, many of them newspaper articles, were displaced from the scrapbook, copied, and placed in appropriate files.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
American News Women's Club
Association for Women in Communications
National Federation of Press Women
National Press Club (U.S.)
National Woman's Party
Republican Party. Texas
Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi
The University of Texas at Tyler
Tyler Junior College
United States. Army. Women's Army Corps.
United States. Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services
United States. District Court (Texas : Eastern District)
University of Missouri--Columbia. School of Journalism
Geographic Name:
Texas--Politics and government--1951
Tyler (Tex.)
Journalists -- Texas -- Biography
Journalists--Washington (D.C.)--Biography.
Judges--United States
Presidents -- United States
Women journalists -- United States – Biography
Personal Name:
McClendon, Sarah
Steger, Ann Hollandsworth, Mrs.
Topical Term:
Democratic Party. Texas
Justice, Administration of--Texas
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1996 -- Anecdotes
Women -- Texas -- Biography
Women Veterans

Separated Material

Some materials stored at the William M. Steger Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Tyler, Texas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the William M. Steger Papers, The University Archives and Special Collections Department, Robert R. Muntz Library, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX, USA.

Detailed List of Contents

ArchonID id135
Personal Life

ArchonID id136
1 ArchonID id140
"Century of Our Lives" 1999
2 ArchonID id141
Curriculum Vitae and public narrative
3 ArchonID id142
Certificates/Memberships 1965-2006
4 ArchonID id143
Clippings (Family) 1950-1970
ArchonID id137
5 ArchonID id145
Cards 1969-2001
6 ArchonID id146
Miscellaneous 1949-2000
7-8 ArchonID id147
Genealogy (Steger)
9 ArchonID id148
Green Acres
ArchonID id149
10 ArchonID id151
Clippings and Notes
11 ArchonID id152
1 ArchonID id367
Sports Afield: Fishing Annual
2 ArchonID id368
ArchonID id153
World War II
12 ArchonID id155
31st Airborne
13 ArchonID id156
Veterans History Project
14 ArchonID id157
ArchonID id158
Obituaries/Memorials 2006
15 ArchonID id160
Clippings and Notes

ArchonID id161
Political Career

ArchonID id162
Campaign Manager
1 ArchonID id164
Clippings 1952
2 ArchonID id165
Correspondence 1953
3 ArchonID id166
Photographs 1952-1953
ArchonID id168
Governor's Race 1960
4 ArchonID id170
Campaign Documents
5 ArchonID id171
6 ArchonID id172
ArchonID id173
Congressional Race 1962
7 ArchonID id175
Campaign Documents
8-10 ArchonID id176
11 ArchonID id177
12 ArchonID id178
ArchonID id179
Texas State G.O.P. Chair 1969-1970
13 ArchonID id181
Campaign Documents
14 ArchonID id182
15 ArchonID id183
16 ArchonID id184
17 ArchonID id185
ArchonID id186
G.O.P. Publications and Miscellaneous Files
1 ArchonID id188
Miscellanous G.O.P. appointments
2 ArchonID id189
"High Gear 70" 1970
3 ArchonID id190
Young Voters 1971-1973
4 ArchonID id191
Miscellaneous 1960-1974
Box Folder
18 3 ArchonID id377
Graphic Materials

ArchonID id192
Legal Career

ArchonID id193
Private Practice
5 ArchonID id195
Business Card
6 ArchonID id196
7 ArchonID id197
Correspondence 1951
8 ArchonID id198
C.S. Potts Society directory
ArchonID id199
U.S. Attorney
9 ArchonID id201
10 ArchonID id202
Clippings, Judicial Candidates
11 ArchonID id203
12 ArchonID id204
Correspondence 1953-1959
ArchonID id205
Box Folder
3 13 ArchonID id225
Bench Book, Memos and Precedents
14 ArchonID id226
Bench Book, Front Matter
Box Folder
4 1 ArchonID id228
Bench Book, Criminal Felony
2 ArchonID id229
Bench Book, Misdemeanor
3 ArchonID id230
Bench Book, Conflict
4 ArchonID id231
Bench Book, Civil Instruction
5 ArchonID id232
Bench Book, Jury Panel
6 ArchonID id233
Bench Book, Grand Jury
7 ArchonID id234
Bench Book, Civil Contempt
8 ArchonID id235
Bench Book, Contempt
9 ArchonID id236
10 ArchonID id237
Bench Book, Naturalization
11 ArchonID id238
Bench Book, Charge to Jury
12 ArchonID id239
Bench Book, Criminal Charge
13 ArchonID id240
Calendars/Planners 1978-1981
14 ArchonID id241
Calendars/Planners 1982-1985
15 ArchonID id242
Calendars/Planners 1986-1989
Box Folder
5 1 ArchonID id244
Calendars/Planners 1990-1993
2 ArchonID id245
Calendars/Planners 1994-1997
3 ArchonID id246
Calendars/Planners 1998-2001
4 ArchonID id247
Calendars/Planners 2002-2005
Box Folder
6 1 ArchonID id249
Calendars/Planners 2006
2 ArchonID id250
Calendars/Planners 1990-2005
3 ArchonID id251
Case: U.S. vs. Beckham 1975
4-5 ArchonID id252
Case: U.S. vs. Cauble 1981-1984, 1988
Scope and Contents
This case appears to have been heard by Judge Steger in two parts. The original charge was tries and disposed during the period from 1981 to 1984 (folder 4). A motion for contempt was heard in judge's chambers in 1988 (folder 5).
6-9 ArchonID id253
U.S. vs. DKG Appaloosas, Inc., Case Files
Box Folder
7 1-5 ArchonID id255
U.S. vs. DKG Appaloosas, Inc., Case Files (cont.) 1984
6-10 ArchonID id256
Motions in Limine
11-13 ArchonID id257
Case: U.S. vs. Casperone 1987
Box Folder
8 1 ArchonID id260
Case: U.S. vs. Clark 1987
2 ArchonID id261
Case: U.S. vs. Mason 1987
3-11 ArchonID id262
Case: U.S. vs. Stephenson; folders represent different cases that were eventually tried together under the same cause of action: TY-87-22-Cr-(1-6) 1987-1988
12 ArchonID id263
Case: Merriman vs. Fidelity & Casualty 1988-1990
13 ArchonID id264
Case: U.S. vs. McCoin 1994
14 ArchonID id265
Appealed cases, binder index 1971-2005
15 ArchonID id266
Appealed cases: August - July 1971-1972
16-17 ArchonID id267
Appealed cases: December 1972 - December 1975
Box Folder
9 1-7 ArchonID id270
Appealed cases: January - July 1976-1985
8 ArchonID id271
Appealed cases: December - May 1985-1987
Box Folder
10 1-9 ArchonID id273
Appealed cases: September - May 1987-1992
Box Folder
11 1 ArchonID id276
Appealed cases: July - March 1992-1993
2-6 ArchonID id277
Appealed cases: May - February 1993-1995
7-9 ArchonID id278
Appealed cases: May - November 1995
10 ArchonID id279
Appealed cases: October - February 1995-1996
Box Folder
12 1-2 ArchonID id281
Appealed cases: March - December 1996-1997
3-7 ArchonID id282
Appealed cases: January - November 1998-2004
8 ArchonID id283
Appealed cases: July 2005
Box Folder
13 1 ArchonID id285
2-3 ArchonID id286
4-5 ArchonID id287
Correspondence, Appointment to Bench 1970
6 ArchonID id288
Correspondence, Cases 1999-2005
7 ArchonID id289
Correspondence, Senior Status 1987-2004
8 ArchonID id290
Correspondence, Miscellaneous 1968-2005
Box Folder
14 1 ArchonID id293
Federal Judiciary Files, background materials
2 ArchonID id294
Federal Judiciary Files, Judge Sam Hall
3 ArchonID id295
Federal Judiciary Files, photographs circa 1970-2006
4 ArchonID id296
Federal Judiciary Files, pencil sketch
5 ArchonID id297
In-chambers and court time 1979-1981
6- ArchonID id298
In-chambers and court time 1990-1999
Box Folder
15 1-3 ArchonID id300
In-chambers and court time 2000-2005
4-10 ArchonID id301
Special Occassion materials 1980-1995
Box Folder
16 1-7 ArchonID id303
Special Occassion materials 1995-2004
Box Folder
17 1 ArchonID id305
Special Occassion materials 2005
2 ArchonID id306
Special Occassion materials n.d.
3 ArchonID id307
Statistical Reports, appeals list 1988-1990
4 ArchonID id308
Statistical Reports, closings/filing/monthly statistical reports 1975-2005
5 ArchonID id309
Statistical Reports, closings/filings/monthly statistical reports 1988-2006
6 ArchonID id310
Statistical Reports, Petit Jury
Box Folder
18 4 ArchonID id374
Certificates/MembershipsPrivate oversized materials
5 ArchonID id375
PhotographsPrivate oversized materials

ArchonID id311

ArchonID id349
ArchonID id350
Vinyl recording of Richard Nixon campaign speech, Gregg County Airport 27 October 1952
ArchonID id351
Gavels (3)
ArchonID id352
Spitfire model
ArchonID id353
Spitfire collector's plate
ArchonID id354
Pins and photographs from Reed Steger memorial
ArchonID id355
Cross in my Pocket (carried by Judge Steger and kept with his things)
ArchonID id356
John Tower lapel tag
ArchonID id357
Airplane pins
ArchonID id358
Plaque, The First Fifty-State Campaign: with deep appreciation to a fellow campaigner, Pat and Dick Nixon November 1960
ArchonID id312
Contents on display at the William M. Steger Courthouse and Federal Building
ArchonID id313
Judicial Robes
ArchonID id314
Swearing-in photograph
ArchonID id315
Inscribed gavel 1970
ArchonID id316
Official court identification card
ArchonID id317
Justinian Award plaque May 2004
ArchonID id318
Bench bookPrivate Bench book (empty--contents in the Legal Career series
ArchonID id319
Framed 50-year certificate from State Bar 2001
ArchonID id320
Gavels (2)
ArchonID id321
Portrait presentation program 12 May 1983
ArchonID id322
License plate, USA 22
ArchonID id323
Ceremonial badge
ArchonID id324
Spitfire MK.V model plane
ArchonID id325
Senior Status plaque 31 December 1987
ArchonID id326
Flag flown over U.S. Capitol Building marking 35 years on the bench
ArchonID id327
U.S. Marshall's badge (plaque) 1994
ArchonID id328
Tickets and cufflinks, Pres. Richard Nixon's Inauguration 1968
ArchonID id329
House resolution 5606 (changing name of federal courthouse) 2006
ArchonID id330
Nametag and two ceremonial bricks celebrating Steger's charter membership at Green Acres Baptist Church (Tyler, TX)
ArchonID id331
Congressional Record 22 July 2004
ArchonID id332
Shadowbox with display of political pins and memorabilia reflecting William M. Steger's political interests and activities
ArchonID id333
Framed Materials at the UASC
ArchonID id334
Portrait (official, copy)
ArchonID id335
Attorney's license
ArchonID id336
American Military Aircraft, 1940-1945
ArchonID id337
Head on Attack, Battle of Britian Aces Collection
ArchonID id338
Hughes Flying Boat (diagram)
ArchonID id339
Steger family at judicial swearing-in ceremony (photo)
ArchonID id340
District judges photo n.d.
ArchonID id341
Endowed scholarship, Baylor Law School (plaque)
ArchonID id342
News article commemorating official portrait, Tyler Morning Telegraph (plaque)
ArchonID id343
Judicial staff photo n.d.
ArchonID id344
Underwater marine photography (Reed Steger)
ArchonID id345
Steger at Beaumont Court (photo)
ArchonID id346
Law degree, Southern Methodist University
ArchonID id347
Portrait of William Pierce Rogers, signed "To William M. Steger with warm personal regards-William P. Rogers"
ArchonID id348
Steger with President Nixon in the Oval Office (photo)