Our photographic collections contain over four million images which highlight day-to-day activity in Houston and Texas, primarily from the 1860s to the 1980s.
Images cover subjects such as farming, industry, oil exploration, transportation, architecture, festivals, parades, natural disasters, cultural, civic, and sporting events, to name a few. The Houston Post photograph collection covers assignments from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s.
Additionally, a significant portion of material also comes from area commercial photographers such as William Fritz, George Beach, Frank Schlueter, Bert Brandt, and Joseph Litterst.
Our architectural collections reflect a range of the region's architectural history. The principal focus of the collections is architectural drawings but also includes correspondence, office records, job logs, specifications, photographs, shop drawings, and oral history interviews.
Major series of records from architectural firms include those of Maurice J. Sullivan, Alfred C. Finn, Harvin C. Moore, Frank Meyer, and Hare & Hare, landscape architects. Dozens of other architects and architectural firms are represented.
There is a significant collection of drawings for parks commissioned by the Houston Parks & Recreation Department.
Our Hispanic collections represent contributions and experiences of Houston's Hispanic community throughout the 20th century.
Records such as the papers of civil rights attorney John J. Herrera; photographs of Club Chapultepec, a young women’s club in the 1930s; advertisements for Lydia Mendoza’s musical performances; and Papel Chicano, a newspaper born out of Houston’s Chicano Movement, reveal the impact of the Hispanic community on Houston's history.
Part of our collecting scope is to capture stories and interviews of Houstonians by way of oral history.
The founding HMRC Oral History Collection is made up of community members, artists, musicians, civil rights activists, politicians, and civic leaders who helped define the growth and history of the city.
Over the decades, staff has continued to develop this collecting medium by way of conducting in-depth interviews, hosting collecting days and partnering in memory projects, and accessioning other oral history endeavors.
Collection highlights include the Bill White Oral History Project and the Texas Jazz Archive oral histories.
Sound Recordings & Moving Images
We have over 500 recordings spanning several decades of Houston's history. Materials encompass a variety of formats from cassette to CD and film reel to DVD.
These include radio broadcasts, television news reports, conferences, mayoral speeches, and more. Featured collections include the KHOU TV film collection of newscasts from the 1960s-1970s, and the Orris D. Brown film collection that captures amateur film footage of Houston in the 1930s.