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Woodallen Photographs

Identifier: MSS 1459

Content Description

This collection consists of a wide variety of business photographs produced by Woodallen Photography in Houston from 1946 to 2015. There are images produced for major clients like Sears, Houston Public Library, and Sakowitz, as well as smaller local businesses. In addition to retail and consumer goods, numerous industrial companies are included. Images include products, people, facilities, equipment, and events.


  • Other: 1946-2015


Access Restrictions

This collection is not yet fully processed, but limited reference assistance is available upon request. Please contact the HMRC Photo Archives,

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from MSS 1459 Woodallen Photographs must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Historical Note

Woodallen Photography specialized in business photography. Companies hired Woodallen to photograph products, people, facilities, equipment, and events. Typical uses for these photographs included advertisements, brochures, annual reports, trade show exhibits, legal, documentary, and news releases. They worked both in a studio and on location for their clients.

Woodallen Photography promoted its ability to produce high quality images and to store and retrieve those images for clients over the long term. In a 1991 brochure, the company asserts, “Archival storage is the only way to preserve valuable images, so we store originals using the same materials and techniques that museums use.”

Woodallen Photography operated from 1946 into the 2010s.

Woodallen Industrial Photography was founded by Alan (Woody) and Frances Woodallen in Houston in 1946. In the late 1960s, as the focus of the business expanded, the name changed to Woodallen Photography.

Alan Montgomery, the founders' grandson, started working for the company in 1967, and purchased the business in 1974, following his grandfather's passing. Alan's wife Jane joined him in running the family business, and together they donated this large photographic collection to the Houston Public Library.



150 Linear Feet (149 boxes of negatives and slides, file cabinet of file cards) : (400,000 photographic images)

Language of Materials



Woodallen Photography developed its own filing system, which has been maintained as much as possible. A combination of letters and numbers indicated the year, month, and sequential number of each assignment. Original negatives are filed by month and year.

The collection arrived with a key translating the letter/number codes. Based on this, it is possible to determine the month and year of virtually every photograph in the collection.

The collection is indexed by client. A set of index cards that accompany the collection is arranged alphabetically by client. On the index card for a client, assignments are listed chronologically. These descriptions typically include the job number, a brief description of the image(s), and often the number or type (size, format, color, etc.) of images.

Photo Database

HMRC's Photographic Archives Database ( contains an inventory of photographs in this collection.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Alan and Jane Montgomery, 2005, with an accrual in 2008.

Digitized Materials

Select images from this collection have been digitized and are available on the Houston Public Library Digital Archives at

Woodallen Photographs
Matt Richardson
March 27, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002