Home Archives and Reference > Archives and Manuscripts > Prints and Photographs Collection (this page)

Prints and Photographs Collection at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Contact Information
Need help? Contact us at:



The Texas State Archives Prints and Photographs Collection includes over 750,000 original photographs and prints in a variety of processes and formats. Reproduction copies include copy prints, copy negatives, and photocopies. Born-digital electronic records also contain image files of various formats.

The majority of the Prints and Photographs Collection relates to Texas government, history, individuals, and events. This page provides helpful resources for searching the collection.

image of Sam Houston
Sam Houston wearing a riding duster (1/136-1), Sam Houston daguerreotypes collection, Prints and photographs collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Descriptive Guides

The Processed Manuscript and Photograph Collections page provides descriptive guides to certain photograph collections.


Indexes can help locate items in the Prints and Photographs collection, whether digitized or in their original format. For further information on an image located through these indexes, contact archinfo@tsl.texas.gov.

Photo Collection Database [coming soon!]. Provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive summary information about photographic collections.

Online Catalog. Can be searched to locate some Prints and Photographs collections.

Legacy Indexes

Legacy indexes may help with discovering additional items in our Prints and Photographs collections. Although these older indexes are no longer updated, they may include additional image descriptions that could be helpful to your research.

Image Descriptions. This searchable scanned document contains individual image descriptions within the Prints and Photographs Collection. Image Descriptions are arranged by number assigned upon receipt (accession number). This legacy resource was created by staff through the mid-1990s and is no longer updated. It contains known incorrect and outdated information.

For more recent Prints and Photographs collections, check out the Processed Manuscript and Photograph Collections webpage.

Prints and Photographs Subject Index [electronic copy coming soon!]. Can be searched alphabetically by subject. This legacy resource does not cover all Prints and Photographs collections and is no longer updated. The Prints and Photographs Subject Index is only available on-site at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, Texas.

Browsing Guides. Include photocopies of images from the Prints and Photographs Collection that have previously been published and/or are frequently requested. This legacy resource is arranged by subject and is no longer updated. Browsing Guides are only available on-site at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, Texas.

Picture Index Card Files. List publications that include images of individuals, locations, and events throughout Texas and U.S. History, generally prior to the mid-20th century. References in this legacy resource are arranged alphabetically by last name or city. The Picture Index Card Files are currently only available on-site at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, Texas.

Viewing Prints and Photographs Collection Materials

Texas Digital Archive Link goes to Texas Digital Archive. Some digitized Prints and Photographs collections are accessible online through the Texas Digital Archive (TDA). Watermarked copies are available for download. Check out our tips for searching the TDA for prints and photographs.

While some images are available in a digital format online, others require contacting archinfo@tsl.texas.gov to request access. Because photographic materials are easily damaged, special care must be taken when handling prints and photographs. When handling photographic materials, researchers must wear gloves provided by Archives staff. When viewing slides, negatives, or transparencies, researchers will be provided with a light table to enhance viewing.

Due to preservation concerns, certain Prints and Photographs items are not available for use in the Archives reading room. This includes rolled panoramas and glass plate negatives. Researchers may request digital copies of glass plate negatives. Access to rolled panoramas may be delayed or limited if conservation work is required to humidify and flatten these items.

Reproductions and Permissions

For questions regarding image reproductions, please review our Reproductions page.

For questions regarding permission to publish images from the Prints and Photographs Collection, please contact archinfo@tsl.texas.gov.

Related Materials

Researchers are encouraged to browse our Online Exhibits. Many of these exhibits include images from our Prints and Photographs Collection.

The Texas State Archives Flickr page Link goes to TSLAC Flickr page also contains some digitized photographs from our collections. Some of these images may appear in the Texas Digital Archive Link goes to TDA as well.

The publication Picturing Texans Link goes to Portal to Texas History website is available electronically through the Portal to Texas History. This resource references many of the publications listed in the Picture Index Card Files (see above).

Other State Archives records may also include photographs that are not indexed through the resources listed above. If you are looking for photographs on a particular topic, it may be helpful to search for records of state agencies with oversight or interest in that topic or subject area. Our Processed State and Local Records page provides descriptive guides to processed Texas state and local records. For further assistance, please contact archinfo@tsl.texas.gov.

Page last modified: April 8, 2024