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The Paris Junior College History Department, in a continuing project, collects oral histories from Lamar County veterans of World War II. In recordings and transcripts, the veterans bring to life what it meant to serve 60 years ago.

Listed below are links to historical and genealogical societies and related groups and institutions within the Paris Junior College service area.


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About the Aikin Archives

The A.M. and Welma Aikin Regional Archives, dedicated in 1978 in honor of Senator and Mrs. Aikin for their many years of service to the people of Texas, houses their papers, official records and other materials of historical significance to Lamar, Delta, Fannin and Red River counties. It is located in the Rheudasil Learning Center on the Paris Junior College campus.

Gifts from Senator and Mrs. Aikin’s friends across Texas provided funds for the construction of the replica office within the archives, as authorized by the 65th Legislature. The office occupied by Aikin for the last 30 of his 42 years of service was the only Texas Senate office not renovated from its original decor of 1885.

A solid granite monolith, taken from the same quarry as the granite used in the Texas Capitol, is located in front of the Rheudasil Learning Center. It was a gift of the Public Junior Colleges of Texas in recognition of Senator Aikin’s leadership in the junior college movement.

“Miss Welma’s Garden” across from the monolith was established in her honor by the citizens of Marshall, Texas, and other friends across the state in recognition of her contributions to the beautification of Texas, her statewide garden club leadership and her long interest in state government. Both Senator and Mrs. Aikin, the former Welma Morphew, attended Paris Junior College, and she served as a regent of the college.

The Collection

The A.M. and Welma Aikin Jr. Regional Archives is a State Depository for official government records of Red River, Delta, Fannin and Lamar Counties.

In addition, it houses collections related to local and regional history, such as:

» Manuscripts, documents and official publications.

» Private and family papers, letters, diaries and journals.

» Yearbooks, civic and business records, school and club records.

» Newspaper clippings, articles, books pertaining to or written by people in the region.

» Photographs, maps and illustrative material showing streets, public buildings, homes, pioneer citizens, etc.

Visitors are invited to see the senator’s office replica, the gallery exhibit and to use the Archives reading room for research.

Hours are:

Monday - Thursday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
8 a.m. - Noon
(Closed during the noon hour each day.)

Call 903.782.0411 for additional information or to arrange special tours. Hours may vary due to special events.

A Life of Service

Aikin was born Oct. 9, 1905, to Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Mack Aikin in Aikin Grove in Red River County. In 1907 the family moved to Lamar County, where his father operated a general store in Milton.

Aikin, one of eight children, attended a three-teacher school through the first 10 grades, completed high school at Deport, attended Paris Junior College and received his bachelor of laws degree from Cumberland University.

He married “Miss Welma” in 1929, and the couple had one son, A.M. “Bobby” Aikin III.

Aikin became a senior partner in Aikin Men’s Wear and a member of the Aikin-Townsend Law Firm.

Major legislation introduced and supported by Aikin in the Texas Senate helped establish Texas in a position of eminence in several areas such as education, cancer research and state fiscal responsibility. He is best known for his co-authorship of the Gilmer-Aikin and Hale-Aikin bills and his chairmanship of the Senate Finance and State Affairs committees.

First appointed chairman of the Finance Committee in 1941 by Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson, Aikin played a lead role in fiscal affairs of the state during the last 30 years of his tenure.

At the time of his retirement in 1979, Aikin was both dean of the Texas Legislature and dean of all state legislators in the U.S. In recognition of his years of legislative leadership, he was named Dean Emeritus of the Texas Senate for life, a distinction he held until his death on Oct. 21, 1981.

His 46 years in the Texas Legislature marked the longest period served by any legislator in the state. As a dedicated statesman, his influence was felt not only in the First Senatorial District, but throughout Texas.

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