Skip to NavSkip to Content

The University of Texas at Austin

Research Reference Tools


The Briscoe Center for American History owns more than five million photographic images spanning the period from the late 1840s to the present. Photograph collections, archives, and subject files cover in great depth and diversity such themes as ranching, the oil and natural gas industry, Mexican American life in Texas, recreation, railroads, agriculture, domestic life, architecture, entertainment, business, and politics in the Southwest, the South, and the Rocky Mountain West and, increasingly, important national and international events beginning with the 1950s, including the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and conflicts in the Middle East.

Visual Materials Index - Detail from Jane Withers, no. 4149; Metro, Bailey (Bob) Studios Photographic Archive, © Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Online Resources:

This Visual Materials Index provides titles of Briscoe Center collections that contain photographs and other visual materials related to the term indexed. Most of these sources are archival collections comprised primarily of photographs or archives that include a photographic component. Exceptions are the Prints and Photographs Collection (PPC) and the Oversize Pictures (OP) files, and the Cased Image Collection (CIC). The Visual Materials Index (VMI) is not a complete index to BCAH photograph holdings. Many digital images can be searched and viewed in the History Online Digital Media section.

Note: PPC and OP denote collections of images grouped by subject. The Cased Image Collection (CIC) consists of ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes and other cased images and is arranged by subject.

On-site Resources:

All photographs are available in the Briscoe Center's Research and Collections Division, which is located in Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2 on the University's main campus in Austin. Photographs are stored in closed stacks and must be used in the James Stephen Hogg Reading Room. Inventories and guides exist to many of the discrete photograph collections and to the photographic components of archival collections available at the Research and Collections Division. Some collections are temporarily unprocessed, closed, and/or restricted. Patrons seeking photographic reproductions from the Briscoe Center holdings should consult the Request Duplication page.

Other finding aids exist only in paper or electronic format in-house at the Briscoe Center for American History and cannot be accessed on line at this time. You can contact reference staff to inquire about these finding aids.