Constance Dudley Collection of Sarah T. Hughes Papers, 1946-1981Add to your cart.

By Zachary Richardson

Collection Overview

Title: Constance Dudley Collection of Sarah T. Hughes Papers, 1946-1981Add to your cart.
ID: 01/ AR0729
Primary Creator: Hughes, Sarah Tilgham (1896-1985)
Other Creators: Dudley, Constance.
Extent: 5.0 Boxes
Arrangement: This collection is arranged by material into 5 boxes: Box 1: Speech Notes (1963-1969); Box 2: Speech Notes (1970-1974); Box 3: Speech Notes, Travel Notes, Organizations, Clippings, Coni Dudley; Box 4: Appointment Books, Speech Notes, Board Meeting Notes, 1946-1981; Box 5: Board Meeting Notes, Speech Notes, 1951-1962
Languages: English


This collection consists primarily of speech notes on note cards and note paper handwritten by Judge Sarah T. (Tilgham) Hughes. The collection was donated by Constance Dudley, niece of Judge Hughes.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection of speech notes on note cards and note paper handwritten by Judge Sarah T. Hughes include speeches heard and delivered by Judge Hughes. Notable speech topics include the United Nations and world peace through common international law, American penal reform, dissent and civil disobedience, and women’s rights and the status of women in America.

Other textual and print materials include Judge Hughes's handwritten notes on her travels in Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s, newspaper clippings, organization membership cards belonging to Judge Hughes, and other textual materials related to Judge Hughes.

Additionally, the collection contains a small number of photograph copies and originals of Judge Hughes.

Biographical Note

Judge Sarah Tilgham Hughes was born on August 2, 1896 in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1917, she graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Biology. In 1922, she earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School. The same year, Judge Hughes moved to Dallas, Texas with her husband George Ernest Hughes. In 1923, she joined the firm of Priest, Herndon, and Ledbetter where she was a member till 1935.

In 1930, she was elected to her first term in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat and at age 34, was the youngest woman elected to the legislature. She was reelected twice to the position and spearheaded numerous progressive legislation such as prison reform, public school land use, and women's property rights. In 1935, she became Texas' first female district judge when Governor James Allred appointed her to the 14th District Court in Dallas and was reelected to the position seven times. In 1952, she was national president of the Federation of Business and Professional Women's Club. The national organization nominated her for the position of Vice President on the Democratic Party ticket that year, but Judge Hughes withdrew her name.

In 1954, she successfully passed legislature that allowed women to serve on juries. In 1960, she was the co-chair of the Kennedy-Johnson campaign in Dallas County. In October 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Judge Hughes as Texas' first female federal judge. In 1963, she administered the Presidential oath of office to Lyndon B. Johnson after President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Judge Hughes' most well-known decisions as a federal judge include Shultz vs. Brookhaven General Hospital in 1969 (equal pay for equal work for women), Roe vs. Wade in 1970 (the legalization of abortion in the United States), and Taylor vs. Sterrett in 1972 (upgrading prisoner treatment in Dallas County jails). She was also involved with cases related to Billie Sol Estes and the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal. Additionally, she was a supporter of the United Nations.

In 1982, Jugde Hughes retired from the bench. She passed away on April 23, 1985 at the age of 88. She was interred at Hillcrest Mausoleum and Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas.

For more biographical information on Judge Sarah T. Hughes and to view her collection, visit the Judge Sarah T. Hughes Collection.

Subject/Index Terms

Access Information

Access Restrictions:

This collection is not restricted.

Use Restrictions:

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Physical Access Note:

This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hour notice prior to use.

Reading Room or Duplication Requests

Depending on any access restrictions noted above, you may be able to request items be delivered to our reading room, or that we make reproductions for you. Just click on either the or icons in the listings below to be routed to our request form.

Administrative Information

Repository: University of North Texas Special Collections
Acquisition Source: This collection was donated by Constance Dudley, niece of Judge Sarah T. Hughes.
Related Materials:

Gwen Graul Papers, 1945-1979

Judge Sarah T. Hughes Papers, 1910-1982

Preferred Citation: Constance Dudley Papers, University of North Texas Special Collections


Some finding aids are quite large and may take a minute or more to load. This message will dissapear when the page has fully loaded.

Search this Finding Aid

Box and Folder Listing

Additional Links

Page Generated in: 0.219 seconds (using 223 queries).
Using 7.12MB of memory. (Peak of 7.55MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-3
Copyright ©2017 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign