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Jim Barker Collection

Identifier: CAC-PP-058
The Barker Collection contains 35 linear feet of documents in addition to over 300 hundred photographs, maps, and a variety of audio-visual materials. The materials in the collection include constituent and office staff correspondence, government publications, bills, memos, and clippings. The collection is particularly strong in areas related to the budget and appropriations, education, House business and administration, taxes, and ad valorem reform. There are also a variety of materials related to alcohol laws, crime and the criminal justice system, energy, and a collection of member files. The Campaign series includes more materials than typically seen in many legislative based collections as it includes records of Barker’s contributors, contributions Barker made to other candidate, and campaign expenditures in addition to the more common campaign literature produced by Barker’s campaign and his opponents’ campaigns. The Correspondence series also contains a large volume of correspondence related to his recovery from a heart attack, the death of his father, and his election to and eventual ouster from the Oklahoma Speakership.


  • 1977-1990


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection (excluding the Photographs, Audiovisual, and Maps Series which are stored on-site), is stored off-site and requires prior notice to access. If you wish to view these materials, please contact the Congressional Archives staff to arrange an appointment.

Access to audiovisual materials is by appointment only, due to the technical requirements to view this media.

Conditions Governing Use:

The University of Oklahoma asserts no claim of copyright over photographs in this collection taken by private citizens. Any publication of such photographs requires the consent of the copyright holder.


49.79 Linear Feet (42 containers)

Biographical Information:

Barker was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on June 20, 1935. He graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy and went on to earn a degree in business administration from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in 1957. From 1957 to 1959 Barker served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army's First Infantry Division, commanding a tank battalion. Following his military service Barker founded Muskogee Restaurant Supply and was president of that company throughout his career in politics. He was married to the former Kay Tucker, and had two children, Janet and Brad.

Barker was first elected to one term in the Oklahoma House in 1968, and was later elected for seven more terms, from 1977 to 1990. He served District 13, which covers Muskogee and parts of Muskogee County. As a member of the House, Barker had a seat on the Appropriations and Budget Committee and was vice-chairman for four years. He also served on the joint House-Senate General Conference Committee on Appropriations.

In 1983 Barker was elected as Speaker of the House after a federal felony conviction forced the previous Speaker, Dan Draper, to leave office. His tenure as Speaker coincided with a difficult period in Oklahoma history as energy prices collapsed, state revenues were in shortage, and the Democratic legislature was often at odds with the Republican governor, Henry Bellmon. It was a period marked by efforts toward government reform, tax increases, revenue restructuring, and economic development. Despite these challenges, Barker was generally regarded by Democrats and Republicans alike to be a strong and effective leader.

On May 17, 1989, Democratic members of the House voted for Barker's removal as Speaker, citing a need for a change in leadership and policies to match the changing times, as well as disapproval of Barker's majority floor leader, Guy Davis. Barker's composure during the ouster proceedings and the personal respect he had achieved among his colleagues earned him a standing ovation as he left the House chamber that day. Barker served the remainder of his term but declined to run for reelection in 1990. After leaving the House, Barker moved to Edmond, Oklahoma and became a lobbyist, representing banks, the insurance industry, and advocates against domestic violence. Barker died of a stroke on April 25, 2005, at the age of 69.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Barker Collection is arranged into 12 series: Legislative, Departmental, General, Press, Speeches, Campaign, Office, Invitations, Correspondence, Photographs, Maps, and Audio-Visual. The Legislative, Departmental, General, Press, Campaign, and Office series are organized alphabetically and then chronologically while the Speeches, Invitations, and Correspondence series are simply organized chronologically. The Photographs and Audio-Visual series are largely arranged topically and the Maps series is organized by map type.
Guide to the Jim Barker Collection
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States