Photography and Visual Materials Collections

About the Collection

The Photography and Visual Materials Collection documents the history of photography and other visual mediums through the works of both traditional and vernacular artists. The Collection includes fine art photography, studio and commercial work, specimens of early photography and other types of visual art such as paintings, posters, illustrations, sculpture and folk art.

Primary collecting interests are samples of early photography (cased photography, carte-de-visite, and cabinet cards), historical photographs of Texas, large-format photography, collections of notable regional photographers, posters and broadsides, and examples of illustration techniques and processes.

Notable Photography Collections

Clark Family Photography Collection, 1939-2000

Joe Clark, his son Junebug Clark and other family members contributed to this collection spanning 60 years of photographic history. Included amongst the over 1 million images are commercial and artistic works of subjects as diverse as the automobile industry, the Cumberland Gap and the iconic Jack Daniel’s product photography series. Digitized materials from this collection can be found on The Portal to Texas History.

John Rogers and Georgette de Bruchard Photography Collection, 1920-1997

John Rogers and Georgette de Bruchard were prolific photographers around Dallas-Fort Worth from the 1940s to the 1990s. The couple photographed the quickly changing Dallas architectural landscape, political events, and also did photography for local companies. Some major areas of interest include work for Neiman-Marcus, images for Architectural Digest, Dallas landmarks such as the Dallas Zoo, and images of celebrities and politicians visiting Dallas, such as John F. Kennedy, Pat Boone, Richard Nixon, and Maria Callas. Selected items from the John Rogers and Georgette de Bruchard Photography Collection have been digitized and are available on The Portal to Texas History.

The Don Shugart Photography Collection and The Ray Bankston Photography Collection

Don Shugart and Ray Bankston are two of the best-known photographers at cutting horse events in the north Texas region. Their over 40 years of work document annual competitions and the culture and lifestyle of the horse ranching industry through commercial work for the top ranchers and breeders in the area. Their photos define why north Texas is known as Horse Country USA. Digitized materials for the Don Shugart Collection and digitized materials for the Ray Bankston Collection can be found on The Portal to Texas History.

Erwin E. Smith Photography Collection, 1904-1986

Erwin E. Smith began his career in photography as a teenager while working on cattle ranches in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. He frequently teamed up with newspaper writer, George Patullo, to feature his photographs alongside stories of the West, which were published in various print works, such as the Saturday Evening Post, National Magazine, and Cattleman magazine. He took over 2,000 photographs in his lifetime, most between 1905 and 1912, and is considered one of the best photographers of early 1900s cowboy life. Select items from the Erwin E. Smith Photography Collection have been digitized and are available on The Portal to Texas History.

Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection, 1895-2013

Four generations of photographers are documented in the Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection. Byrd Williams IV, an accomplished fine art and documentary photographer, was heavily influenced by the work of his father, grand-father and great-grand-father, whose archives he maintained throughout his life. As a collection, these images tell a story of the history of this family, their work, and the development of the north Texas area over the last century. More information can be found on the Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection page. Digitized materials from the Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection can be found on The Portal to Texas History.

Mildred Schaeffer Zichner Collection, 1968-1992

The Mildred Schaeffer Zichner Collection contains over 40,000 slide photographs documenting her travels with her husband Walter Zichner. The Zichners traveled to Canada, South Africa, South America, Egypt, Iran, Russia, China, Turkey, Greece, Italy, England, Ireland, and many destinations within the United States, from the 1960s through the early 1990s. A selection of the Mildred Schaeffer Zichner Collection has been digitized and is available on The Portal to Texas History.

Photography Study Collection, 1971-2019

In collaboration with faculty from the College of Visual Arts and Design, Special Collections collects and provides access to vintage photographic prints representing a variety photographic printing techniques and technology. The collection contains 18 photographs and four portfolios by American photographers with ties to Texas. Photographs are a range of black and white and mixed-media depending on the artist. Artists represented in the Photography Study Collection include:

Notable Visual Materials Collections:

John Abrams Papers, 1966-2012

John Samuel Abrams, born in New York, has been a Dallas based artist since 1978. He works in several mediums including pastels, pencil, acrylic paint, and wood sculptures. Abrams has lectured and taught art at local community colleges, the University of Texas at Dallas, and at the Creative Arts Center of Dallas. John is an avid doodler and all “finished” artwork invariable begins with these sketches. His work is typically whimsical, brightly colored, textural, and with emphasis on geometric elements. Most of his later works have been corporate or institutional commissions, including for Disney, IBM, and Merrill Lynch.

Claudia Webb Betti Papers, 1952-1988

Claudia Webb Betti was a Professor Emeritus of art at North Texas from 1967 to 1989, and was the coordinator for the drawing program and taught art education. She was a prolific artist and co-authored the nationally recognized textbook, Drawing: A Contemporary Approach. The Collection consists of correspondence with galleries and other artists as well as her personal papers and photographs of much of her art. The full Claudia Webb Betti Papers are digitized and available on The Portal to Texas History.

Steve Brooks Collection, 1970-2019

This collection documents the career of graphic designer and artist of UNT alumni Steve Brooks from the 1970s to the 2000s. The collection includes concert posters, handbills, original artwork, hand cut film for illustrations, color illustrations, pen and ink illustrations, and sketchbook drawings for bands such as Alice Cooper, Chicago, The Doors, Three Dog Night, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, B.B King, David Cassidy, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Elton John and many more.

The collection includes an extensive range of items produced for Willie Nelson (one of his primary clients) including t-shirts, promotional materials, newspapers, magazines, concert posters, handbills, original artworks created for Nelson's tours, as well as items created personally for Nelson including his private stationary and materials designed for Nelson’s private plane, “Air Willie.”

Lorene Jackson Western Art and Illustration Collection

Will James is the focus of this collection. He who was an author and artist of the American West and the legend of the Cowboy. James wrote and illustrated many novels and short stories during his career including Smoky the Cowhorse, Sand, Lone Cowboy, and The Three Mustangs. Five feature films were made from works created by James: Dymka, Shoot Out, Smoky, Sand, and Lone Cowboy.

Robert B. Toulouse Engravings Collection, 1766-1840

Robert B. Toulouse gifted this set of engraving prints to the College of Visual Arts and Design, which were then given to Special Collections for preservation. The Collection consist of some commercial reproduction prints, featuring William Hogarth and B. Waterhouse Hawkins images. Original prints in the Collection come from well-known printers such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Luigi Rossini.

Alexander M. Troup Collection, 1970-1990

The expansive Alexander M. Troup Collection consists of materials gathered by Troup to preserve little bits of Dallas history. Troup considers himself an archaeologist of the city, and has been collecting discarded materials from demolished buildings, ephemera, and household items that help to tell the story of Dallas, specifically of African-American and Hispanic communities. The Collection contains a large amount of folk art such as handmade pottery, whirly gigs, and penny dolls. Additionally, Troup’s own art is represented in the Collection, typically assemblages of collected materials. Some items from the Alexander M. Troup Collection were featured in the Cat’s Out of the Bag exhibit.

Victoria Poyser Lisi Collection, 1975-2003

Victoria Poyser Lisi is an American illustrator and artist who specializes in science-fiction and fantasy and children’s book illustrations. She was inspired to start her work by the World Fantasy Convention, in 1979. She's created the cover and interior art for many books and magazines since the late 1970s. Her more recent works are for children's book illustrations and instructional painting books. The Collection contains examples of original art work, prints, and published materials containing her work. The Collection has been featured in the Women in the Archives exhibit and Fun and Games exhibit. Selections from the Victoria Poyser Lisi Collection have been digitized and are available on The Portal to Texas History.

Robert Ray Vaughn Sunday School Artwork Collection, 1951-1960

Denton native Robert Ray Vaughn used pen, paint and paper to create his interpretations of the Book of Revelations on wood panels. The wood panels measured 28x20 inches. Robert Ray Vaughn, a churchman, designed his teaching charts for children 8 and 9 years old. He designed two sided panels because it was easy to display and he added humor in his renditions of Revelations, to hold the children’s interest. More information about this collection is available in the finding aid.