Ellison Photo Company Records
An Inventory of the Collection
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.
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.
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.
Ellison Photo Company Records (AR.1991.054). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: unknown
Donation Date: unknown
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/2016.
Detailed Description of the Collection