Scope and Contents
The photographs cover a wide range of subjects, with a focus largely on buildings and industry. The oil and shipping industries are frequent subjects. Many commercial buildings are featured, including both interior and exterior shots. Also included are some product photography, portraits, and views of the city.
- Litterst Commercial Photo Company (Photographer, Organization)
Litterst married a woman from Missouri, and they moved to New York where they had two children, Frank and Joe. Around 1900 the family moved to their home at Highland and Watson Streets in Houston's Woodland Heights neighborhood.
Once the younger son, Joe, was old enough, he joined his father in the family business, the Litterst Commercial Photography Company. Ruby Litterst, Joe's wife, also worked in the studio until their daughter was born in 1930. From approximately 1923 to 1926, an artist named Clara Basely worked with the Littersts, helping with the re-touching and water-color pictures.
Joe Litterst (son) attended Taylor School in Houston. He was interested in sports, including basketball and track, and coached local basketball teams. He also played the piano, piano accordion, and Hawaiian steel guitar. He was involved in various civic and professional organizations, including the Salesman Club, Rotary Club, and First Christian Church at Main and Clay. He was President of Houston Commercial Photographers, and involved in the National Photographers Association, and Southwest Photographers Association. Litterst was also a close friend of the portrait photographer, Paul Gittings.
Joe married Ruby Litterst in 1924. The couple had a daughter in 1930 and were later divorced. He married his second wife, Joy, in 1944, and died in 1949.
Until 1926, the Litterst Studio was at 1013 ½ Texas Avenue in the Moore Burnett Building, Room 407. At that point, the Littersts established a studio in a house they purchased at 2007 Polk Avenue.
Robert D. Dixon joined the business in the late 1940s. Following the passing of Joe Litterst, Dixon eventually acquired the buisness from Joy Litterst. The business changed names several times in the ensuing years. It was still known as Litterst Commercial Photo Company as late as 1957. It then became known as the Dixon Commercial Photo Company from 1958-1960, followed by Milstead-Bissett Dixon Photography in 1961, and finally Milstead-Dixon Photography beginning in 1962.
Source: Photographic Collections in Texas: A Union Guide, p.184, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth606195/m1/202/
Houston City Directories
128 Linear Feet (108 boxes, 3 framed panoramas, 1 rolled item) : approximately 6650 photographs, both prints and negatives, and including numerous panoramas
Language of Materials
- Litterst-Dixon Photographs
- Matt Richardson
- May 14, 2021
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository