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Bob Bolen Papers

Identifier: MS214-2019-001

Scope and Contents

Appointment calendars, correspondence, office files, newspaper clippings, printed material, notes, audiovisual material, and scrapbooks document the life and career of Bob Bolen, Fort Worth businessman, mayor, and advisor to the TCU Chancellor, from 1991 through 2014. The bulk of the papers document his activity as senior advisor at TCU.


  • Creation: 1932; 1948-1957; 1978-2015


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Bob Bolen was born in Chicago, Ill., on April 10, 1926, the oldest son of Milford Louis Bolen and Beatrice Pinkerton Bolen. He graduated from Byrd High School in Shreveport, La., in 1943. The day after his graduation, his father drove him to Texas A&M in College Station to begin classes to become an aeronautical engineer. After a year in college, Bolen served in the U.S. Navy as a gunnery officer aboard the USS Iowa. Following his military discharge in 1946, he returned to A&M, changed his major and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1948. Soon after obtaining his degree, Bolen joined McCrory's Variety Store and eventually worked as a store manager in Syracuse, N.Y., from 1949-1951. While working there he met Fran Ciborowski, who was a native of Syracuse and the two began dating. The Bolens were wed in Syracuse on May 3, 1952. For their honeymoon, the newlyweds drove to Fort Worth where they moved into a duplex on McCart Street. In 1953, the Bolens began lifelong business ventures that included Bolen's Toy Palace, Bolen's Bike World and, eventually, multiple Hallmark Card Stores throughout the state of Texas. From his earliest entrepreneurial storefront in the Westcliff Shopping Center located near TCU, customers came to know Bolen as Mr. Bob. After years of community service, mentoring young people and growing his businesses, Bolen was encouraged by local business people to consider serving on the City Council. He began his tenure as a councilman in 1979 and was elected the mayor of Fort Worth in January 1982. With his vision, his consensus-building and his love for this city, he became a transformational leader in city government for the next 3,400 days. During achievement-filled and productive years at City Hall, Bolen left a legacy of accomplishments in helping to establish the first Public Improvement District downtown, attracting the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Plant to our city, and being a champion of the public-private partnership known as the AllianceTexas master planned community that has had an economic impact of more than $43 billion on Fort Worth and the surrounding area. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Fort Worth Sister Cities International program and served as the president of the Texas Municipal League as well as the National League of Cities. When Bolen chose not to run for re-election in 1991, he was offered a position by Texas Christian University to serve as the senior advisor to the chancellor. He continued to work at TCU while serving on local business boards, doing occasional classroom teaching, and always enjoying interaction with the university students. Bob Bolen died in January 2016.


9 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged in two series and one accession, Series I. Calendars, Series II. TCU Office Files, and Accession 2019-038.

Physical Location

Wright Storage: 19D1-19D2

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Leah Keyes, his executive assistant at Texas Christian University from 1991 until his death.

Bob Bolen Papers
Lisa Pena
January, 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)