Theophilus Eugene Connor was born in Dallas County, Alabama in 1897. Trained as a telegraph operator, Connor eventually settled in Birmingham, Alabama where he worked as a radio sports announcer. Capitalizing on his popularity with radio listeners and on his well known nickname (“Bull”), Connor entered politics in 1934 and was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. Connor was elected Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham in 1937, a position that gave him administrative authority over the city’s police and fire departments. He remained Public Safety Commissioner until 1954, and held the position again from 1958 to 1963 when he was forced from office by a change in the form of the city government. During his long political career Connor ran two unsuccessful campaigns for governor of Alabama and was a leader of the 1948 Dixiecrat revolt. From 1964 to 1972 he served as a member of the Alabama Public Service Commission, the state body that regulates public utilities. Connor died in Birmingham in 1973. “Bull” Connor is most famous for ordering the use of police dogs and fire hoses to disperse civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham during the spring of 1963.
This collection contains the office files from Connor’s last two terms as Public Safety Commissioner. The files from his earlier terms were destroyed in the 1950s.