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J. Erik Jonsson papers, 1881-1995 (bulk 1964-1995)

DeGolyer Library

About the Collection

Overview

[Close-up of J. Erik Jonsson Speaking at DFW Airport]

J. Erik Jonsson (1901-1995) was a man driven to change Dallas for the better. Throughout his career, he served as Chairman of Texas Instruments (1958-1966), was elected Dallas Mayor (1964-1971) and was prominent in civic affairs (Dallas Citizens Council and the United Way). The J. Erik Jonsson papers, 1881-1995 (bulk 1964-1995), held by the DeGolyer Library, contain primarily his paper records—with some photographs, audio-visual materials and awards. A detailed finding aid to the collection is available.

John Erik Jonsson was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 6, 1901, the only child of John Peter and Ellen Charlotte (Palmquist) Jonsson. His parents were naturalized citizens, having independently immigrated to the United States from Sweden in the 1890s. He began his career at Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) as a rolling-mill apprentice in 1922. In 1934, he moved to Dallas as secretary of Geophysical Service (GSI). In 1951, a new name was chosen for the parent company, Texas Instruments (TI), with GSI as a subsidiary. Jonsson continued to play a major role in TI as president (1951-58), chairman of the board (1958-66), and honorary chairman (1966-77).

[J. Erik Jonsson with Parents]

During Jonsson’s time with TI, he became involved with civic activities, and at a time when many retire, Jonsson was increasing his civic and community involvement. He participated in a wide range of community organizations, holding leadership positions in the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas Citizens Council, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. He was a tireless advocate for education, serving or leading the boards of nearly a dozen educational institutions and forming partnerships to improve local educational facilities. Jonsson was also a founder of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, from which the University of Texas at Dallas was created in 1969.

Jonsson served as the mayor of Dallas from 1964 to 1971, and worked to improve the image and morale of the city in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. He was a key leader in the development of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, serving as chairman of the project from 1968 to 1976. Jonsson proposed a pioneering urban goal-setting program, Goals for Dallas, in 1964, for which he went on to serve as chairman of the board (1965-1976) and chairman emeritus (1976-92). Jonsson received numerous honors and awards during his life, including ten honorary doctorates between 1959 and 1973. Jonsson died on September 1, 1995, in Dallas.

A hand up, Not a handout.

Holdings and Highlights

The physical collection, consisting of 170 boxes, is organized in 12 series numbered from most to least material:

Goals for Dallas

Digital Collections Guidelines and Procedures

Items in Central University Library Digital Collections are digitized following the SMU Central University Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the CUL Digital Collections: Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Items in Central University Library Digital Collections are digitized following the SMU Central University Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the CUL Digital Collections: Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Related Collections

[First TI logo]

J. Erik Jonsson Papers is one of a growing number of digital collections on Dallas History.

For more information, see:

Usage

Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting degolyer@smu.edu.

Contact Info

For more information about the collection, please contact degolyer@smu.edu.