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Major Topics Covered:

  • Sources of land for MD Anderson Research Park in Smithville and Bastrop, Texas
  • Legislators and others instrumental in advocating in the Legislature
  • R. Lee Clark’s vision for a research facility; personal motives for locating the facility outside of Houston
  • Local and governmental considerations in approving land for a laboratory



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Topics Covered

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas System. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute at Houston, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute


History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

About the Interview

About the Interview Subjects

U. S. Representative James Jarell (Jake) Pickle was born in Big Spring, Texas, in 1913. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, he served as the school’s Student Association President from 1937-1938. Conducted shortly before his death, the interview of U.S. Representative J. J. “Jake” Pickle is a firsthand, behind-the-scenes account of the world of Texas politics in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Rep. Pickle explains how he first became familiar with the Bastrop State Park area, as well as the politics that surrounded how the land would be used. He pays particular attention to the wide variety of state and local leaders who were involved with the project. Rep. Pickle highlights Dr. R. Lee Clark’s persistence in pushing for the establishment of the research park for M.D. Anderson and how the project finally came to fruition.

From 1938 – 1941, Rep. Pickle was served as the Central Texas Area Director for the New Deal’s National Youth Administration’s (NYA). The NYA was a program of the Works Progress Administration. It was during this period that he first became involved with the area around Bastrop and Smithville that would later become the home of the University of Texas MD Anderson Science Park - Research Division. It was also during this time that Rep. Pickle was introduced to Lyndon B. Johnson, for whom he would later serve as an aide when Johnson was in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Pickle served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945.

During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Rep. Pickle worked in radio and public relations and was appointed by Texas Governor Price Daniel to the Texas Employment Commission. In 1963, he was elected by special election to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Homer Thornberry, who resigned. Rep. Pickle served as U.S. Representative for the 10th Congressional District of Texas from 1963 until 1994, when he retired. Dr. R. Lee Clark first contacted Rep. Pickle about the idea of creating the M. D. Anderson Science Park outside Smithville.

Rep. Pickle died on June 18, 2005, in Austin, Texas. He was survived by his wife, Beryl Bolton McCarroll, and his only daughter, Peggy Pickle.

Clifford Drummond is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and served as the school’s Study Body President from 1967-1968. Mr. Drummond was a legislative aide to Rep. J. J. “Jake” Pickle and worked with him to obtain the Bastrop/Smithville land for the research park.

Conditions Governing Access


James Jarell “Jake” Pickle and Clifford Drummond Oral History Interview, March 15, 2005



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