Austin History Center

Ellison Photo Company Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Ellison Photo Company
Title: Ellison Photo Company Records
Dates: 1939-1954
Abstract: The Ellison Photo Company was a commercial photography business in Austin, Texas most active in the first half of the 20th century. A small collection consisting of 2 certificates and 2 scrapbooks documents the business from the late 1930s through the mid 1950s.
Identification: AR.1991.054
Quantity: .4 linear feet (1 box)
Location Archives Stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

The Ellison Photo Company was a commercial photography business in Austin, Texas most active in the first half of the 20th century. The company was started in 1900 as the Jordan Photo Company by Elmer P. Jordan. The studio was located on the 2nd floor of the building at 610 Congress Avenue. Upon Jordan's death his widow operated the business for a short time before selling it to Alfred Ellison and Edmund P. Cravens, who had been working at the American National Bank, in 1914. Ellison bought Cravens' interest within a couple years. By 1920, the company moved to the first floor of 615 Congress Avenue. Alanson D. Boone, who would later go on to start his own photography studio, worked at the company during this time. The company expanded to selling Kodak cameras, photographic supplies, stationary, office supplies and picture frames, in addition to offering their commercial photography services. For a short time the company was known as Jordan-Ellison Company before becoming Ellison Photo Company around 1932. In the 1950s the company began focusing more and more on retail sales rather than commercial photography services. Russell Chalberg joined the company in 1955 as a salesman and purchased Ellison's interest in 1963. In 1967 Chalberg added a second store, located in the North Village Shopping Center, managed by Sherman Lindsay. Chalberg donated the accumulated photo holdings (approximately 13,300 prints and negatives) to the Austin History Center (then known as the Austin-Travis County Collection of the Austin Public Library) in 1969. By 1980 the company had a third retail location on Cameron Road. The first two locations closed by 1983 and the company closed entirely by the late 1980s.

Scope and Contents

A small collection consisting of 2 certificates and 2 scrapbooks documents the Ellison Photo Studio from the late 1930s through the mid-1950s. The certificates acknowledge membership to the Master Photo Finishers of America. The scrapbooks include clippings of advertisements the company placed in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. Loose clippings in the scrapbooks were photocopied onto acid-free paper for preservation purposes.


The collection is arranged in one series in chronological order.


Restrictions on Access

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.

Restrictions on Use

Open to all users. Scrapbooks should be handled with care and used with book cradles.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Ellison Photo Company.
Jordan Photo Company.
Jordan-Ellison Photo Company.
Austin (Tex.).
Commercial photography.
Document Types:

Related Material

Photographs by the Jordan, Jordan-Ellison, and Ellison Photo companies are housed at the AHC as part of the Chalberg Collection of Prints and Negatives. The photographs were distributed among the Austin Files (subject files) but are distinguished by their ID numbers in the form of C#####.

Austin Files - Subject

  • Libraries - Austin-Travis County Collection - Chalberg Photograph Collection L2710(29d)
  • Photographers and Photography - Ellison Photo Company P3500(42)
  • Photographers and Photography - Jordan, Elmer P. P3500(75)
  • Photographers and Photography - Jordan Company P3500(20)

Austin Files - Biography

  • Chalberg, Russell G.
  • Cravens, Edmund Powell
  • Ellison, Alfred

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Ellison Photo Company Records (AR.1991.054). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: unknown

Donation Date: unknown

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/2016.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Records, 1939-1940

Box Folder
1 1 Certificates, 1939-1940
2 Scrapbook (red), 1940, undated
3 Scrapbook (blue), 1953-1954