Bradley Davis University Junior High School Photographs
An Inventory of the Collection
Bradley Davis (born 1909) was a science teacher at the University Junior High School (UJH) in Austin, Texas for many years in the mid-twentieth century. A January 17, 1954 Austin American-Statesman article names him "Austin's Number One Sports Fan" for attending so many school athletic events: "[Davis] may be found at practically every athletic event in town when he isn't teaching.... Mr. Davis and his Century Graphic camera have become an institution at University of Texas, high school and junior high games, no matter what the season." Davis developed the photos he took in a darkroom at the school. He captioned the prints, often with humorous commentary, and made them available for school yearbooks and newspapers. The same news article explains that Davis began his career at UJH in 1936 after having graduated from UT. It also quotes the school principal as saying of Davis: "His devotion to his job and his marvelous ability to work with kids go far beyond the duties of the everyday teacher." In addition to his teaching duties and support of extracurricular sports, in the late 1930s and early 1940s Davis also sponsored the school's safety patrol. By 1968 Davis was teaching in Dripping Springs. Further information is not known.
University Junior High School (UJH) was the result of an effort to create a secondary school jointly between the University of Texas and the Austin Public Schools (later the Austin Independent School District). First brought to discussion in 1932, the proposed school would be a tool of the University's Education Department available for its staff to observe, demonstrate and explore educational theories. It would also provide Austin Public Schools with the much needed space the growing secondary enrollment had created a need for. The agreement that was reached stipulated that the University of Texas would provide the site and building at a cost between $300,000 and $400,000 as well as furnishings, while the Austin Public Schools selected and paid the regular teaching staff and half the salary of the principal. The school opened in September 1933 and had an enrollment of 831 its first year and included grades six through eight. The school closed in June of 1967.
248 8x10" black-and-white photographs by Bradley Davis document the students of University Junior High School and other local schools in Austin, Texas from 1953-1962. The bulk of the photographs depict basketball and football games. Included among the basketball photographs are games between UJH and Lamar, Baker, Pearce, and Porter junior high schools. There are also some photographs of Austin High School basketball games. The football photographs include games between UJH and Lanier, O. Henry, and Porter junior high schools as well as other assorted scenes. The photographs are primarily action shots of players, and a few images of cheerleaders are mixed in. There is one folder of photographs of track and field athletes. Other student activities pictured include theater productions and band and orchestra performances. A few photographs depict academic pursuits such as students giving presentations, working in classrooms and carrying books in hallways. One folder of photos includes images of students at leisure at Barton Springs. Two photographs show the exterior of the school building. The majority of photographs have identifications and other captions by Davis written directly onto the prints. Some photos of the athletic events have final scores noted on the backs of the prints.
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Bradley Davis University Junior High School Photographs (AR.2016.041). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2003/142
Donation Date: December 3, 2003
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/June 2017.
Detailed Description of the Collection