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Earle B. Mayfield Papers

Identifier: GTM-810101

Scope and Contents

The Earle B. Mayfield Papers are divided into VII (7) Series. Series I deals with his legal career comprising Boxes 1, 2, and 3. Series II (the largest section of the Papers) covers his political career and comprises Boxes 4 through 13 inclusive. The Third (3) Series concerned itself with family history and autobiographical materials as well as correspondence of a personal, familial nature and covers Boxes 14, 15, and 16 (permission must be obtained for this Series). The Fourth (4) Series involves materials on the Mayfield Wholesale Grocery Company, the dairy farm, real estate, and oil interests comprising Boxes 17, 18, 19, and 20. Series V is miscellaneous correspondences, addresses, speeches, religious material, newsclippings, and Masonic matters from Box 21, 22, and 23. The Sixth Series is exclusively photographic and comprises Boxes 24 and 25. Box 26 is an Oversized box with a Plat Book. Box 27 is an Oversized box which contains a religious tape; microfilm reel; sheet music 1860s to 1900s; oversized photos and posters. The last Series (7) is financial and contains income tax returns from 1929 to 1963 and cancelled checks only and covers Boxes 28 to 33 inclusive.


  • 1890 - 1964

Biographical / Historical

Earle Bradford Mayfield was born on April 12, 1882, the son of Col. J.B. Mayfield and Mary Ellen DeGuerin Mayfield of Overton, Texas. He was raised by his grandmother when his mother died in 1886. He had four brothers: Horace B., Maurice G., John P., and Thomas B. He received his B.S. degree in 1900 from Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. He attended the University of Texas Law School for one year. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1901 but associated with his father in the Mayfield grocery business in Tyler, Texas (The Mayfield family had moved to Tyler in 1898). On June 10, 1902 he married Ora Patience Lumpkin, the daughter of S.H. Lumpkin of Meridian, Texas. From 1902 to 1906, Mayfield was engages in the flour milling business. Earle B. Mayfield resided in Austin, Texas, from 1912 to 1930. He returned to Tyler and in 1931 he organized the law firm of Mayfield and Grisham (His partner was the well-known Texas Judge James S. Grisham. In 1953, Earle B. Mayfield was elected president of the Mayfield Wholesale Grocery Company. The Company was sold in 1956 to the Kimball Company and Earle B. Mayfield was retained as a member to oversee tax matters, land, and oil interests in East Texas. While at Overton High School, Earle B. Mayfield was awarded the Best Declaimer medal. He also was awarded the best debater medal at Timpson High and was awarded 3 gold medals for his oratorical prowess while attending Southwestern University. Earle B. Mayfield was a man of deep religious conviction. He was a Methodist and a steward within the church for 60 years. He was a Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, Knights Templar, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine, and a Knight of Pythias. He was an active participant in many fields but it was in the political theater that he was the most active and enthusiastic. In 1906, Earle B. Mayfield was elected member of the state senate (he was the youngest man ever to have been elected to the upper house of the State Legislature in 1906). He was re-elected to the upper house over very stiff opposition in 1910. As state senator, he co-authored the Mayfield-Jenkins bill that put bucket shops out of Texas. He authored an amendment that established an agricultural experimental station in Temple, Texas. He advocated judicial reform; operation of the state on a cash basis; safety appliance law; a law regulating the railroads to repair cars in Texas; and actively supported all prohibition legislation. E.B. Mayfield was elected Texas Railroad Commissioner in 1912, a position he held for ten years. He held the distinction of being the youngest railroad commissioner elected in Texas. During his tenure as commissioner, reforms such as the building of union depots; the ordering of railroads to establish their status to the commission; and furnishing information to the Attorney General which enabled the Attorney General to dissolve an unlawful alliance between the railroads, the breweries, and two officials from the farmers' unions, were enacted. Then in 1922, Mayfield became the second youngest man elected to the United States Senate from Texas. He served from March 4, 1923 to March 3, 1929. During this tenure, Earle B. Mayfield faced illegal campaign charges brought before a Senate subcommittee by his Senatorial opponent in this 1922 campaign, George B. Peddy. Peddy charged Mayfield with gaining support from the Texas Ku Klux Klan in the way of campaign finances. This Corsicana Case offers much insight into political campaigning in Texas in 1922. It is also invaluable to the historian for the materials and papers contained within Series II form the KKK. This case marred EBM's early senate career but he overcame the difficulties and went on to work enthusiastically for such measures as authorizing the ICC to make emergency freight rates into drought- and flood-stricken areas; granting the railroads the right to extend their lines into undeveloped areas in Texas without securing ICC permission; the regulating of tolls; and the reform concerning the cotton crop and agriculture. E.B. Mayfield sought re-election to the U.S. Senate in 1928 but was defeated. In 1930, he ran as a Democratic candidate for Texas governor but lost in the Democratic primary. He was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party in Texas. He headed the Texas delegation to the New York Democratic National Convention in 1924 and he attended the 1928 Houston Convention as a delegate as well as the 1932 Chicago Convention. Even though his own political career ended with his defeat in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, he was sought out by many prominent Democrats, among them Lyndon Baines Johnson and former Texas Governor John Connally. After a long and varied career, Earle B. Mayfield died in 1964 at the age of 83. He had three sons: Dr. Horace M. (who died in 1938); John S. (Swinburne scholar, noted bibliophile, and the present Librarian of the Army and Navy Club, Washington, D.C.), and Earle B. Jr. (prominent Texas lawyer).


49.5 Linear Feet (33 boxes)

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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057