TABLE OF CONTENTS
Capitol Photo Supplies Company Records
An Inventory of the Collection
James W. Yett, Jr. was the owner and operator of Capitol Photo Supplies Company. He was born on July 29, 1913 in Waco, Texas to James William Yett Sr. (1887-1969) and Rebecca Jane Yett (1885-1932). James Jr. worked as a chemist before opening Capitol Photo Supplies Company in Austin, which was in business from about 1945-1955. In the 1950s he was married to Rose Fenwick Greenwood (1910-1982) but they divorced in 1960. On 26 October 1985 James married Aurora Pena. Later in life he owned a fishing tackle supply store. He died on June 14, 2014 in Austin.
Capitol Photo Supplies Company was a photographic retail and wholesale business owned and operated by James W. Yett, Jr. from about 1945 to 1955. The store was located at 2428 Guadalupe Street in Austin, Texas. The store catered to both amateur and professional photographers, selling photographic film, paper, developing chemicals, enlargers, cameras, flashbulbs, tripods, projectors and other accessories. Among their camera selection were Kodak Brownies, Rolleiflexes, press cameras, and Argus, Leica, Minca, Graflex and Ansco brand cameras. In addition to selling still photography supplies, the store had film projectors for rent and a selection of films and filmstrips that could be borrowed for events or for use in schools. They also sold Viewmasters with scenic reels for children. The company offered photo finishing services and camera and projector repair services. In 1952 the store also began selling magic supplies. Apparently for some time Yett ran an optometry products business, the Ken-Glo Company, from the same address.
Printed ephemera, notebooks, and photographs document the business operations of Capitol Photo Supplies Company in Austin, Texas in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Film shooting guides and photography guidebooks in the collection document mid-century photography practices. Marketing materials, price lists, and pricing changes documents show what services the store offered, products they carried, and the costs of these services and items. A binder of handwritten notes on photography served as a detailed sales manual for employees to learn about photography and be able to answer customer questions. A few film mailing bags and a pencil are artifactual evidence of the company. A few receipts make up the financial records. Some photographs depict the store. There are two copies of a black-and-white view of the store exterior, a color view of the store interior, and five black-and-white negatives showing the store interior with men behind the counter. It is unknown whether Yett is any of the individuals in the photos. The company's filmstrip rental service is represented by a sampling of booklets intended for teachers operating the films; the bulk of the booklets and filmstrips were discarded. Business cards and some product photographs represent Yett's side business in optometry products. The Brackenridge Hospital project notes consist of a list of sites and scenes to shoot for an unknown film project. Some unidentified photographs are at the end of the collection.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Materials were donated by James Yett to Joe Coltharp, photography curator at the Harry Ransom Center, after the closure of the store. The HRC never formally accessioned the materials, and in 2015 senior photography curator Roy Flukinger transferred them to the AHC.
Capitol Photo Supplies Company Records (AR.2015.011). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1993/062
Donation Date: 24 February, 2015
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/October 2015.