The Board of Control was established by the Texas legislature in 1919 and was composed of three members appointed by the governor for six-year, overlapping terms. The major duties of the board were to purchase supplies for the departments and eleemosynary and educational institutions of the state; control the state's public buildings and grounds; rent extra buildings and offices for state agencies; prepare the biennial appropriation budget and submit it to the governor; and control the state historical parks.
The Board of Control was responsible for the administration of the state's eleemosynary institutions until 1949, when administration was transferred to the new Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. In 1951 the Budget Division of the Board of Control was transferred to the governor's office. In 1953 the old Board of Control was reorganized, and a new one, composed of three part-time gubernatorial appointees, was established. The agency's functions included serving as the chief purchasing office for state departments and institutions, auditing and certifying to the comptroller of public accounts all claims for goods sold to the state, and operating and maintaining the Capitol and other state office buildings, grounds, the State Cemetery, and other state property in Austin. After the State Building Commission was established in 1954, that agency assumed the duties carried out by the Engineering Section of the Board of Control. The Sixty-fifth Legislature later abolished the State Building Commission and transferred duties back to the board.
In the 1970s the board's responsibilities included managing a system of telecommunications services for state agencies. It maintained a central office-supply store, messenger service, and telephone service, as well as an office-machine repair service. The agency was organized into six divisions: Central Purchasing, Centralized Services, Automated Services, Building and Property Services, Security, and Telecommunications Services. In 1979 the Board of Control was abolished and replaced by the State Purchasing and General Services Commission.