Guide to MS261 Richard M. and Frances M. Dudley Papers, 1898 - 1970
Richard Moberly Dudley, engineer, mayor of El Paso, and Texas state senator, was born near Waco, Kentucky, in 1862. He worked as an engineer on the New York harbor, then directed construction on the Mexico Northwestern Railway and Chihuahua and Pacific Railway. In 1896, he married Frances Moore of Tarrytown, New York. After living in Chihuahua, Mexico, from 1898 until 1911, they settled in El Paso, Texas, where he organized the Texas Bank and Trust Company (later merged with the First National Bank). He was elected to the state legislature twice as a Democrat, and was in his second term when he became involved in a political struggle with members of the Ku Klux Klan. Dudley was elected mayor on an anti-KKK slate. He ran unopposed for a second term, and was sworn in on April 16, 1925, but died on May 1 of that year in an El Paso hospital after surgery. The correspondence, photographs, clippings, and ephemera in the collection reflect the activities of Mr. and Mrs. Dudley, particularly their time in Chihuahua, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. Travel photographs and postcards also document the activities of friends and family members, including James Marvin Dudley, W. E. Dudley, Bobolink Purdy, and Marion Purdy. One letter, added to the collection after a government documents librarian at Sam Houston State University found it tucked into a law book, relates to a law to prohibit Japanese from owning or leasing farm or mining properties. Political clippings relate to several controversies between competing factions in El Paso, including the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs show scenes in Chihuahua, El Paso, North Africa, Port Lavaca, Texas, and unidentified locales. Several photographs include scenes of people feeding bears in a wooded area; others show the newly constructed house at 711 Cincinnati. Publications include some Chihuahua newspapers from May of 1911.