HMRC Photographic Archive Database

The Photographic Archives Database contains 202,612 records of photographs selected from approximately four million images in the Houston Metropolitan Research Center's (HMRC) archival collections. The searchable records offer glimpses of day-to-day life in Houston and Texas from the 1860s to the 1980s. The images cover subjects such as architecture and buildings, farming, industry, oil exploration, transportation, festivals, parades, natural disasters, and cultural, civic, and sporting events.


  • Work by commercial photographers such as William Fritz, George Beach, Frank Schlueter, Bert Brandt, and Joseph Litterst
  • Street, park, and bayou scenes in Houston, as well as aerial views and skylines
  • Architecture: residences, businesses, hotels, churches, theaters, and schools
  • Famous Houstonians like Jesse H. Jones, Howard Hughes, Alfred C. Finn, and Willliam P. and Oveta Culp Hobby
  • Early twentieth-century postcards and cartes de visite portraying Houstonians from the 1860s and early 1870s
  • Local news photographs covering subjects such as the Apollo astronauts, events at the Astrodome, and city politics

Performing a Search

  • Please fill in one or more of the following boxes
  • To broaden your search, please fill in fewer boxes
  • When in doubt, try "Search all Fields"
  • To browse an entire collection, make a selection from the "Collection" drop-down box
  • Click "Search"

More Collections

HMRC has many more photographic collections that are accessible, but not yet searchable in this database. Many of these can be consulted with the assistance of HMRC staff. Examples include:

  • Woodallen Photography -- commercial photography from the 1940s through 2010s. 
  • The Houston Press -- daily newspaper images from the 1920s to 1960s

More information about the photographic collections is available in HMRC's online finding aids

For further assistance, please contact the HMRC Photo Department.
Viewing of these photographs may require an appointment. For further assistance with HMRC's photography collections or to schedule an appointment, please contact HMRC Reference Staff.

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