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Thompson Family Photograph Collection 1890s-1960s

Identifier: MSS 0132

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 118 photographs offering a visual portrait of several generations of a family of black Houstonians from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. It includes images of family members at home, school, work, and play. Many of the photographs are set in the vicinity of the family home at 3401 Ennis Street in Houston’s Third Ward, although a few are from California, Kansas City, France, and elsewhere. Chester Thompson, Sr., Leona Rasmus Thompson, Chester Thompson, Jr., Ruth Thompson, Exvelma Thompson, Evelyn Wilson, Pearl Wilson, William Wilson, Jr., Lavinia Wilson, Turner Wilson, Chester Wilson, Ameal Wilson, and Mabel Wilson are among the individuals most frequently featured. The photographs are silver gelatin prints; there are many studio portraits as well as some snapshots.


  • 1890s-1960s
  • Majority of material found within 1918-1947

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Thompson Family Photograph must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Chester Thompson’s family resided at 3401 Ennis Street in Houston, Texas, from approximately 1918 to 1955. Exvelma Thompson (later Tomlinson), one of Chester and Leona Rasmus Thompson’s three children, was a librarian at the Smith Branch of the Houston Public Library. Additional information about family members was provided by Exvelma and Chester, Jr., and is available in the Photograph Identification Sheets included in the collection.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The photographs are numbered 1-117, but no discernable order is present and none has been imposed.

In addition to the photographs themselves, this collection also includes Photographic Identification Sheets which specify the date, location, and contents of each individual picture in the collection. The ID Sheets also usually contain biographic information about those pictured, such as their birth and death dates, their profession and place of employment, and so forth. Each ID Sheet is coded with the same number as the photograph it describes, and all of them are grouped together and placed in a folder at the end of the collection. There are no ID sheets for photos 113-117.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Chester Thompson and Exvelma Thomlinson (formerly Thompson), 1983.

Related Materials

The Houston Metropolitian Research has related materials in the HMRC Oral History Collection

OH 179 Senfronia Thompson

Processing Information

Processed by Howard Beeth, 1983.

MSS 0132 Thompson Family Photographs
An inventory of records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • September 2017: revised for ArchivesSpace

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002