Municipal Archives

​Resource​s for Researching City of Dallas Photographs

Pathfinder N​​umber 9

The Dallas Municipal Archives holds more than a half-million images spread across many collections.  This guide is intended to be a starting point for research and cannot be considered comprehensive.  Where available, links are provided to collection guides for more detailed descriptions and inventories. 


Hop-a-Bus, Dallas Transit System, ca. 1980. City Photographs

A growing number of images are available online through the Portal to Texas History, a collaborative digital library at the University of North Texas in Denton.  The photographic series of the John F. Kennedy/Dallas Police Department Collection, historic photos of Love Field, and photographic surveys of the Trinity River are just a few examples of the City of Dallas collections to be found there.

The more recent “born digital” collections acquired by the Municipal Archives come directly from City departments.  Beginning in 2005 through present, these photograph collections depict the day-to-day business and infrastructure of the City of Dallas.

Many collections in the Dallas Municipal Archives contain photographs or visual materials dating from the 1880s to the present and subjects include public works projects, City events, City sites and facilities, elected officials, and employees.  While the Archives is an invaluable resource for images of former City of Dallas mayors, councilmembers, and employees, other individuals and historic figures not connected to Dallas city government are not likely to be found.

Only a handful of collections are all images, such as the City Photographer Collection.  Many photographs are part of larger manuscript collections and, if present, are indicated in a separate photograph series in each collection’s inventory and guide.


Dallas Central Business District, circa 1925.  Dallas Water Utilities Photographs Collection

Looking for photographs of your home or business?  The Dallas Municipal Archives has collections containing photos of residences and other buildings, though most of these photos were made for purposes other than documenting a structure.  For example, many photos in the City Photographer Collection illustrate paving, sewer, water main construction, or code enforcement matters.  Because houses and other buildings are rarely identified by street address, it is better to search by a neighborhood name or a nearby landmark, such as a City of Dallas park.  Dallas Parks and adjoining neighborhoods are extensively documented in the Dallas Park Department Photograph Collection.

Photograph Collections Relating to All City of Dallas Departments

Collection 1999-003—City Photographer, 1950-1997
Five thousand black and white and color photographic negatives and prints documenting people, places, and events concerning Dallas city government.  Although city government is the focus of this collection, photographs for neighborhood research include parks, recreation centers, and events held at specific sites around Dallas.  A second series of evidential photographs used for legal cases in Code Compliance 196-197, organized by street address, occasionally document building and block façades.  

Photographs prior to 1950 by the City Photographer are located in the Texas/Dallas History & Archives division of the Dallas Public Library.

Collection 2006-005—Miguel Casanova Photographs, 1986-2001
Approximately 3,000 color photographic negatives and slides documenting people, places, and events concerning Dallas city government, mostly used in City of Dallas publications and websites.

Collection 2000-002—Public Information Office Photographs, 1985-1999
Includes photographs of elected officials, department heads, and other City of Dallas staff.

Collection 1991-001—Dallas Police Department Records Related to the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, 1963-1992
Approximately 500 photographs of first-day evidence taken by the Police Department and related images associated with the investigation of the assassination and the murders of Officer J.D. Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Collection 1991-019—Dallas Police Department Historical Reports, Records, and Newsletters, 1930-Current
Photographs relating to major crime cases in Dallas 1930-2002, including the Barrow Gang/Bonnie and Clyde.

Dallas City Council​

Collection 1992-017—Gittings Studio Portraiture Collection, 1931-1992
Collection 1994-008—City Council Inauguration Contact Proofs, 1991
Collection 1994-009—City Council Inauguration Photographs and Negatives, 1992
Collection 1997-019—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 1997
Collection 2000-001—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 1999
Collection 2003-003—Dallas City Council Portrait, 1963
Collection 2003-005—City of Dallas Mayor Portraits, 1894-2001
Collection 2003-013—Dallas City Council Inauguration Photographs, 2001
Collection 2006-002—City Council Inauguration Photographs, 2005
Collection 2007-001—Dallas City Council Photographs and Videotape

​Dallas Park Department​

Collection 1995-030—Everette Lee DeGolyer Estate, 1972-1990
Photographs of Rancho Encinal, the home of Everett L. DeGolyer, now a part of the Dallas Arboretum.

Collection 1995-031—W. W. Samuell Estate, 1886-1977
Photographs of Samuell Estate properties in Dallas during the early 1960s and personal photographs of Dr. W.W. Samuell.

Collection 1995-043—Park Department Works Progress Administration Records, 1939-1940
Includes photographs of Lake Cliff Park construction in 1940.

Collection 1995-023—Department of Park and Recreation General Subject Files, 1930-1970
Not comprehensive but includes photographs of many City of Dallas parks.

Collection 2003-002—Dallas Park and Recreation Department Photographs [Addition], 1942-2003
Contains an extensive aerial photographs series by park, as well as documentation of early Dallas parks.

Collection 2006-003—Dallas Park Department Recreation Centers and Facilities

Collection 2008-002—Earl Hart Family - White Rock Lake Collection, 1926-1948
Includes photographs of White Rock Lake and the Earl Hart family, who lived at the Lake. Hart was the superintendent of White Rock Lake from 1933 to 1943, and his wife Mary Jane McClure Hart operated the Sunset Inn.

​Other City of Dallas Departments

Collection 1991-024—WRR Municipal Radio, 1921-2020

Collection 1991-060—Dallas Water Utilities Records, 1882-Current
Extensive collection documenting the department, its facilities, and water use in North Texas.

Collection 1991-124—City Hall and City Hall Dedication, 1976-1978
Photographs document the completion and dedication ceremonies for the building designed by architect I.M. Pei.

Collection 1994-011—Court Services Scrapbook and Photographs, 1950-1957

Collection 1999-007—Dallas Fire Department Training Records, 1965-1990

Collection 2001-003—Love Field Album and Photographs, 1918-1993
Includes a 1918 album documenting the aeronautical school and later as a city-owned facility.

Collection 2002-004—City of Dallas Public Works and Transportation Department Photographs, 1926, 1944, 1972, 1979-1995

Collection 2002-003—Dallas Water Utilities Project Documentation, 1960-1991

Collection 2002-008—Human Resources Photographs, 1988-1999
Photographs of retirement parties and Human Resources sponsored events.

Collection 2003-014—Vector Control Photographs, ca. 1935-1968
Documents the City of Dallas’ efforts to eradicate rats and other disease vectors.

Collection 2003-001—Aerial Map Photographs of Dallas, Texas 1930, 1949, 1974, 1979
Five hundred black and white photographic negatives and prints.  Aerial photographs of the entire City of Dallas for use by the city’s Public Works and Planning Departments.   Maps can be used to examine existing structures.  Most maps are 1”-500’ scale.  Aerial photographs can be used to document historically black neighborhoods and land changes over time.  The 1930 set is entirely digitized; other years are available in either negative form or hard copy.

Note:  Pathfinders are guides, they are not exhaustive lists.  Review the full complement of Collection Guides to further your own research.