March 8, 1939
  • “Pappy” O’Daniel invites all Texans to a barbecue at the Mansion after his inauguration at U. T.’s Memorial
  • Stadium Gov. O’Daniel broadcasts his Sunday morning radio program from the Mansion.
  • Germany invades Poland on Sept. 1, 1939; Britain and France declare war on Germany.
  • Publication of Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.
  • Winston Churchill becomes the British Prime Minister in 1940.
  • Release of the movie Citizen Kane starring Orson Welles.
  • “Deep in the Heart of Texas” becomes a popular song in the U.S.

Governor: W. Lee O’Daniel

First Lady Merle O’Daniel in State Dining Room

Image Courtesy: PICA06596, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library


March 8, 1941
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
  • Texas First Lady Fay Stevenson dies in the Mansion on Jan. 3, 1942
  • Start of the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb.
  • The play Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder wins the Pulitzer Prize.
  • The D-Day invasion of France by the Allies takes place on June 6, 1944.
  • Harry S Truman becomes President of the U.S. upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • The war in Europe ends on May 8, 1945 and Japan surrenders on August 14, 1945.
  • Juan Perón becomes president of Argentina.
  • Publication of Robert Penn Warren’s novel, All the King’s Men.
  • Marriage of Princess Elizabeth of England to Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh.

Governor: Coke R. Stevenson

Governor and Mrs. Stevenson on his Inauguration Day, circa 1941

1976/198-15, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission


March 8, 1947
  • Invention of the transistor at Bell Labs.
  • Assassination of Gandhi.
  • Establishment of Israel.
  • Opening of the musical South Pacific by Rogers & Hammerstein.
  • The People’s Republic of China prevails on the mainland, led by Mao Tse-tung.
  • Gov. Jester dies of a heart attack while traveling, the only governor to die in office.

Governor: Beauford H. Jester

Crowd at Capitol for Governor Jester’s Inauguration

Image Courtesy: Mears, Dewey G.,photograph, January 21, 1947, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas Historytexashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.


March 8, 1949
  • Central heating and air conditioning first installed in the Mansion.
  • The Mansion gets its first TV in 1954.
  • The Korean War begins.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhauer becomes the 34th President of the U.S.
  • Publication of J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye.
  • The 1950 census gives the U.S. population as 150,697,999.
  • Publication of Dylan Thomas’ Collected Poems.
  • Maureen Connolly wins the four women’s tournaments in the tennis Grand Slam.
  • Crowning of Queen Elizabeth II in Great Britain.
  • Publication of Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy, winner of Pulitzer Prize.

Governor: Allan Shivers

The Shivers Family, circa 1955

1976/198-184, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission


March 8, 1957
  • The Governor’s Mansion receives Austin’s first Texas Historical Landmark medallion.
  • Texan Van Cliburn wins the Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow.
  • Albert Camus wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
  • Arnold Palmer wins his first Masters golf tournament.
  • In Cuba, Fidel Castro becomes the Cuban premier.
  • Publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee.
  • John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the U.S.
  • Construction of the Berlin Wall.
  • John Steinbeck wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
  • Death of Marilyn Monroe.
  • Dr. Michael DeBakey of Houston first uses an artificial heart to sustain a patient during surgery.

Governor: Price Daniel

Governor Price Daniel and his family moved into the Mansion in 1957

1976/198-192, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission


March 8, 1963
  • President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
  • Governor Connally wounded during the assassination of Kennedy.
  • New York debuts of the musicals Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof.
  • Martin Luther King wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson wins election as 36th President of the U. S.
  • Hit movies include The Sound of Music and Dr. Zhivago.
  • Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister of India.
  • Soviet spacecraft lands on the moon.
  • Six Day War between Arab countries and Israel in 1967.
  • Assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.
  • Woodstock music festival takes place in New York state.

Governor: John B. Connally

Bumper sticker for John Connally for Governor

Image Courtesy: MDD 160-b3-f22-17, Houston Public Library, HMRC


March 8, 1969
  • Neil Armstrong, U.S. astronaut from the Apollo 11 mission, walks on the moon on July 4, 1969.
  • The National Guard kills four people during student anti-war protests at Kent State in Ohio.
  • Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th U.S. President.
  • Salvador Allende wins election to presidency of Chile.
  • Opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
  • The Watergate Affair begins with the arrest of five men in Democratic National Headquarters.
  • The Dallas Cowboys win the 1972 Super Bowl.
  • U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns and is replaced by Gerald R. Ford.
  • Secretariat wins the Triple Crown of horse racing.

Governor: Preston Smith

Governor and Mrs. Preston Smith with Mansion security officers and their wives, circa 1972

1973/71-1, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission


March 8, 1973
  • Cease fire agreement signed by the U.S., Vietnamese governments and the Vietcong.
  • An energy crisis in the U.S. and other countries results from the Arab oil embargo.
  • Richard Nixon resigns the presidency and is succeeded by Vice President Gerald R. Ford.
  • U.S. evacuates South Vietnam as the country falls to the communists.
  • United States celebrates its bicentennial in 1976.
  • Jimmy Carter becomes the 39th U.S. President.
  • Publication of Roots by Alex Haley.
  • Visit to Israel by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
  • Death of Elvis Presley.
  • Pope John Paul II becomes the first Polish-born Pope.

Governor: Dolph Briscoe, Jr.

Front Entry, circa 1979

1982/313-9, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission


March 8, 1979
  • The Governor’s Mansion undergoes structural restoration and interior redecoration.
  • Mid-east peace treaty agreement between Israel, Egypt and the U.S. at Camp David.
  • Shah of Iran goes into exile; hostages taken in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
  • Ronald Reagan becomes the 40th President of the U.S.
  • Seachers find the Titanic shipwreck in the Atlantic.
  • Native Texan Sissy Spacek wins Academy Award as best actress for Coal Miner’s Daughter.
  • The refurbished Mansion is re-opened to the public on April 1, 1982.
  • Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space on the Challenger space shuttle.

Governor: William P. Clements, Jr.


March 8, 1983
  • Britain’s Prince Charles visits the Governor’s Mansion during the Texas Sesquicentennial.
  • Lech Walesa of Poland wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Terms of Endearment, based on the novel by Texan Larry McMurtry, becomes a hit film.
  • Introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer.
  • U. S. athlete Carl Lewis wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games.
  • Sally Field wins Academy Award for best actress for Places in the Heart, a film set in Texas.
  • Corazon Aquino becomes president of the Philippines.
  • Elie Wiesel of the U.S. wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Vincent van Gogh’s painting, Irises, sells at auction for $49 million.

Governor: Mark Wells White

Carl Lewis

Image: aureliefrance / Shutterstock.com


  • Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, 1991. Jean Daniel, Price Daniel and Dorothy Blodgett. The Texas Governor’s Mansion.
  • Austin: Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, 1984.
  • The Governor’s Mansion of Texas: A Tour of Texas’s Most Historic Home. Austin: Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, 1997.