Documenting and preserving the history of Dallas city government The purpose of the Archives is to preserve the historical records of city government and support research and scholarship by its external and internal customers.
Established in 1985, the Dallas Municipal Archives is a division of the City Secretary´s Office and contains over 2,000 cubic feet of departmental records in a variety of forms and formats, including ledgers, manuscripts and typescripts, maps, photographs, microforms, and printed materials. Among our many collections are the "Bonnie and Clyde" Barrow Gang materials of the Dallas Police Department; the John F. Kennedy/Dallas Police Department records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy; the earliest extant City of Dallas Charter; and over a quarter million images documenting the growth and public services of the City of Dallas. We also maintain thousands of permanently valuable documents, maps, and architectural plans reflecting the actions of every aspect of Dallas government. The Dallas Municipal Archives can be reached at (214) 670-5270.
Operating as usual
Happy 100th to the Majestic! What a wonderful venue!
It's been 100 Years since the Majestic Theatre first opened its doors as one of many vaudeville theaters of "Theater Row," Dallas' historic entertainment center on Elm Street (2nd picture).
As the last standing theater, the Majestic has hosted a variety of acts from Houdini, to Bob Hope, to Duke Ellington and continues to host concerts and movie nights to this day!
Happy 100th Anniversary to our historic Majestic Theatre 💛❤️
Don't forget to tune in tonight for the 30-min Majestic Theatre documentary at 6 PM on KERA or in-person at the Texas Theatre on Jefferson Blvd.
Celebrate Arts Month in Dallas!
The Dallas Municipal Archives celebrates Arts Month weekly with posts on both local and internationally known artists who have made an impact on Dallas' arts landscape. This week we salute Mary Dickson Albrecht (1930-2007), sculptor, designer, and art company executive. She was a member of the Artists Coalition of Texas (president 1977-1979), and the Texas Fine Arts Association (region II director 1971-1972).
These images, from the Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Collection artist files, document Albrecht's work "With the Wind," a gift from real estate legend Ebby Halliday to the City of Dallas in April, 1972.
Dallas Municipal Archives's cover photo
One Woman's Action
As the Dallas Municipal Archives closes out Women's History Month, the archives focuses on a visit to Dallas by one of the singular figures in American civil rights history, Rosa Parks. This photograph, from the City of Dallas Human Resources Photograph Collection, shows Parks on February 14, 1995 at Thanks-Giving Square, in an observance of National Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Ms. Parks was a seamstress in 1955 and became a symbol for the civil rights movement for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, AL bus to a white man. She later devoted her life to promoting racial equality, tolerance, and social justice. She was joined at this event by Martin Luther King, III, actor Dennis Weaver, the Montessori All City Choir, and the Dallas Police Choir.
A group called Dallas Acts Kind sponsored the week's events. "Our people are tired of violence, of hate, of crime, of uncaring, and we are rising up to do something about that," said a spokesman at another event that week at Dallas City Hall.
Evelyn Oppenheimer hosted Book Talk on WRR 101. Aired on WRR's AM band, Book Talk is the longest-running radio book review show in the US. It ran in syndication in cities including stations in Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Oppenheimer began reviewing books on the radio in 1948 on KRLD, and starting in the 1960s, she spent over 25 years at WRR. She presented her “Oppie Awards" every January to the best books (in her estimation) in multiple categories. She died in 1998, aged 90.
What were some of your favorite books she discussed?
It is International Women's Day, and the Municipal Archives honors Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819-1892).
Cockrell was a key figure of early Dallas. She managed her family's business concerns both before and after her husband's death and became Dallas' first millionaire - of either gender. Among her notable achievements are the Nicholas Hotel (burned in 860), the Cockrell Hotel (on Houston between Main and Commerce), an iron suspension bridge across the Trinity, the Todd flour mills, and other buildings and land.
In 1852, John Neely Bryan sold his remaining property in Dallas to Sarah and her husband for $7,000, and they moved "to town" from the Mountain Creek area. The Cockrells lived at the southeast corner of Broadway and Commerce, near where today's Post Office Annex building sits. (Broadway street no longer exists; it was between what-is-today Houston St and I-35.)
Images: Sarah Cockrell, plat showing land belonging to Sarah Cockrell at her death, tax ledgers showing some of her owned property.
The Municipal Archives kicks off Women's History Month with a salute to women in the Health and Medicine Field. The photographs shown here are a part of our collection on the City of Dallas Health Department. Today especially - as then - front line female workers in health care are prized and respected professionals. Female doctors, nurses, nursing and physician assistants, administrators, and program employees all play a vital role in keeping our community healthy. Thank you all!
The first professional nurses employed by the City of Dallas appeared in 1911, which included neighborhood nurses who made house calls in the days when many children were still born at home. Child health conferences began in the late 1920s, and well-baby clinics started in the early 1930s. By 1950 city employee nurses made approximately 22,000 home visits per year. During Segregation, 'separate but unequal' services were provided for African American Dallasites, but were desegregated by the mid-1960s.
Health services provided by the City of Dallas decreased as private health networks grew and many public health programs were transferred to Dallas County.
Dallas Municipal Archives's cover photo
Celebrate Women's Month!
The Dallas Municipal Archives pauses to remember the life of Marie Tippit, widow of Dallas police officer JD Tippit, who left us this week. JD Tippit was murdered at Tenth and Patton Streets in Oak Cliff on November 22, 1963 during the hunt for President John F. Kennedy's killer.
Mrs. Tippit and her family paid a surprise visit to the JD Tippit memorial exhibit in November 2017. Photos and reproduction documents are periodically on display at Top Ten Records, where Officer Tippit was last seen prior to his death. Besides the Tippit Family is pictured Top Ten colleagues Mike Polk and Barak Epstein, and City Archivist John Slate.
The Municipal Archives extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Marie Tippit.
Dallas Municipal Archives's cover photo
As the Dallas Municipal Archives closes out Black History Month, we offer this reminder - that Dallas Black history is 365-days-a-year. Our collections tell the governmental history of Dallas and its relationship with the African American community, from Reconstruction to the present day. Our documents, maps, photographs, and published items present evidence of the highs and lows of Dallas history, warts and all. We are proud to offer these resources for scholars and researchers local and beyond.
On this date in 1792, George Washington signed legislation creating the Post Office.
Approximately fifty years later, John Neely Bryan was Dallas' first Postmaster. Dallas was then in the Republic of Texas.
When Texas joined the Union in 1846, Charles Durgin became the first US Postmaster in Dallas. Elizabeth Durgin, Charles' wife, created the first physical US Post Office when she created pockets on a large sheet, with the pockets organized alphabetically.
The original still exists at The Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture.
In 1961, the city of Dallas was court-ordered to desegregate its public schools. Racial integration had met with conflict elsewhere, so the Dallas Citizens Council produced this film to both encourage cooperation and emphasize the importance of avoiding violence. With narration and commentary provided by Walter Cronkite, the film, accompanied by booklets and posters, features interviews with prominent citizens of the Dallas community who highlight the importance of the rule of law and the influence that the actions of adults have over the attitudes of their children.
Definitely a film of its day, it addresses the integration of schools only obliquely; the dominant message being that the law is the law, and the reputation of Dallas is at stake. Whether the film impacted citizens or not, when the first integrated school year began in September 1961, children had a violence-free experience.
Juanita Craft was not only the first black woman in Dallas County to vote in a public election, but she also served more than 50 years with the Dallas chapte...
On her birthday today, the Dallas Municipal Archives recognizes the life and accomplishments of Juanita Craft.
Council Member, civil rights activist, and woman beloved by countless Dallasites, she is pictured here on July 3, 1976, at the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.
Black History Month in the Municipal Archives: Wheatley Place and Wheatley Park -Symbols of Pride and Segregation.
Each week this month, the Dallas Municipal Archives will focus on items in our collections that connect to African American history in Dallas.
Wheatley Place is one of Dallas’s first planned residential areas for African-American families, developed by Alex Camp and established in 1916. It's named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American woman poet in America. Located just north of the Queen City District, Wheatley Place is roughly bounded by Warren on the northwest, Meadow on the northeast, McDermott on the southeast and Malcolm X and Atlanta on the southwest. A largely intact and architecturally relevant neighborhood, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Dallas Historic District.
The neighborhood was home to several historic Dallas figures, including renowned jazz pianist Red Garland, and Juanita Craft,
civil rights icon, first African American woman to vote in Dallas and serve on the Dallas City Council. Her home, now the Juanita Craft Civil Rights House, is located at 2618 Warren Avenue.
Wheatley Park, 3700 Meyers, was developed in 1920 by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department as one of its segregated parks. Most don't know, but it was originally named Booker T. Washington Park.
Dallas looking east, 1920s.
Happy Birthday Dallas Museum of Art!
The Dallas Art Association (DAA), the foundation entity that became the Dallas Museum of Art, was founded by a group of 50 citizens at a meeting, Monday, January 19, 1903, at 10:30 a.m. in the Dallas Public Library. The DAA was established to support the visual arts in Dallas, with the goal of creating a permanent art organization.
Two photographs from the Dallas Municipal Archives show the museum's first two homes - both at Fair Park. The Fair Park Free Public Art Gallery opened in April, 1909; a second museum building opened May 31, 1936.
On this MLK day, the Dallas Municipal Archives shares its 2017 discussion about the MLK information in the Archives.
If you have questions, please type them in the comments area of the post.
We are LIVE in the #DallasVault with City Archivists to discuss MLK Day and what it means to Dallas. If you have questions, ask them in the comment section below and we will answer them live!
Flashback Friday - Prior to the Wright Amendment and the regional domination of DFW International Airport, the City of Dallas-owned Love Field was one busy place at Holiday time, as seen in this Christmas, 1973 image. In 1973 it was the eighth busiest airport in the United States, with 6,668,398 enplanements. Photo from Love Field Collection 01-003.
David Newton's gate sentinels, Freedman's Cemetery.
The Dallas Municipal Archives pauses to remember George R. Schrader, who died yesterday. Schrader served as Dallas city manager 1973-1981 and played key roles in the development of several city landmarks such as Reunion Tower and the DFW International Airport. He was 89.
In 2018, City Archivist John Slate and Assistant City Archivist Kristi Nedderman conducted approximately 12 hours of oral history with Mr. Schrader. The interviews are an amazing window into the workings of local government in the 1960s-80s and one person's work to make Dallas a liveable and vibrant city. A comprehensive review of his life and career is in the Dallas Morning News.
The Municipal Archives extends its sympathies to Schrader's family and friends.
Happy Birthday to John Neely Bryan, founder of Dallas.
Born on December 24, 1810, in Fayetteville, TN, and arrived in North Texas in 1839. He returned to stay in 1842, and voilà! Dallas!
[JNB did not leave many known photos. This one, cropped from a larger image, is in the public domain.]
The Municipal Archives honors the memory of archives friend and supporter Greg Brown, who passed yesterday after a brief illness. A frequent archives researcher and author of articles on historic preservation, Greg was most recently director of AD EX (short for The Architecture and Design Exchange),formerly known as the Dallas Center for Architecture. AD EX is also home to the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Dallas) and The Architecture and Design Foundation. Brown's exhibits, popular tours of Dallas architecture, and writings in the journal Columns helped open eyes to the beauty and importance of the built environment in Dallas. The Municipal Archives offers its condolences to Greg's family and friends.
Happy 95th Birthday Anita Martinez!
Anita Nañez Martinez was born on this date in 1925. She was the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Dallas City Council, serving two terms, 1969-1973.
Martinez' efforts on the city council included reducing juvenile crime, the implementation of streetlights, paved roads, and sidewalks in her constituents' neighborhoods.
A tireless advocate for volunteering, she was a charter member of the Center for Voluntary Action. In 1975 she established the Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico, a groundbreaking arts program in Dallas. The Anita Martinez Recreation Center was built in 1974 and named in her honor.
The Dallas Municipal Archives pauses to remember the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On Akard Street by the Municipal Auditorium is a monument dedicated to the ten men from the city of Dallas who were aboard
the U S. S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, most of whom are still entombed in the ship. John Evans, former Deputy Mayor Pro Tem of Dallas was among only 333 who survived the Arizona.
The reverse of the monument remembers the non- Dallas military and civilian personnel who served and were killed or wounded during the attack.
The Dallas Municipal Archives pauses to remember and honor veterans from all branches and all conflicts on Veterans Day 2020. Special salute to veteran employees of the City of Dallas. Thank you for your service!
Dallas Municipal Archives's cover photo
Get your Halloween on early and join City Archivist John Slate for an hour of spooky stories connected to (mostly) City of Dallas parks, cemeteries, and other sites.
Ready for true stories of Dallas' haunted historic places and the people who haunt them? John Slate opens up the Dallas Municipal Archives to bring out the best tales of forest trails and watery graves. It's a ghoulish hour to enjoy. Register at http://ow.ly/DrGE50C1eVq
Happy 103rd Birthday, Dallas Love Field!
This image from the Dallas Municipal Archives shows a close-up of stationery letterhead used by the Army Air Corps during WWI.
The Dallas Municipal Archives pauses to remember Eddie Van Halen, influential guitarist of the band Van Halen, who died yesterday at 65.
The Dallas Municipal Archives contains collections documenting city-owned venues such as the Cotton Bowl and Reunion Arena.
Van Halen and his eponymous band performed at several City of Dallas facilities, including Reunion Arena, Fair Park's Cotton Bowl, Starplex, and American Airlines Center:
July 1, 1978 - Cotton Bowl (Texxas Jam)
June 9, 1979 - Cotton Bowl (Texxas Jam)
September 4, 1980 - Reunion Arena
September 10-11, 1981 - Reunion Arena
November 18-19, 1982 - Reunion Arena
July 15-16, 1984 - Reunion Arena
July 19, 1986 - Cotton Bowl (Texxas Jam '86)
July 3, 1988 - Cotton Bowl (Monsters of Rock)
August 5, 1993 - Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre
March 24, 1995 - Reunion Arena
May 14, 1998 Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre
September 25, 2004 - American Airlines Center
January 26, 2008 - American Airlines Center
June 20, 2012 - American Airlines Center
September 23, 2015 - Gexa Energy Pavilion
*does not include the 1991 outdoor show at July Alley in the West End.
1500 Marilla St Dallas, TX 75201
Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Red and Blue lines stop at the Dallas Convention Center, directly adjacent to Dallas City Hall.
The records held by the Dallas Municipal Archives are open to the public and available for research by appointment only Monday-Thursday between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm.
The City's archival records are unique documents that detail governmental actions and activities. To protect these valuable resources, the Municipal Archives has established guidelines for using and handling the records. These measures ensure that the materials remain accessible and in good condition into the future.
Archival records may be used only in the archives research area; they do not circulate and may not be checked out. There is a small reference collection on Dallas history in the research area that is open to all researchers.
Preparing for Your Visit
If you are planning a research visit to the Archives, please call or email to make an appointment. Not only will this help ensure that a staff member will be available to assist you but also it will enable us to pull the records you need before you arrive, saving you time. Additionally, it will allow us to learn more about your research topic and suggest materials that might be useful, which may help you plan your research time.
We recommend that you review our online collection guides before you come in to see what kinds of materials we have relating to your topic and focus in on what you would like to look at. Our website has subject guides for frequently requested information, and Municipal Archives staff are also available by email or phone if you have questions about our holdings.
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The purpose of the Archives is to preserve the historical records of city government and support research and scholarship by its external and internal customers.
Established in 1985, the Dallas Municipal Archives is a division of the City Secretary´s Office and contains over 2,000 cubic feet of departmental records in a variety of forms and formats, including ledgers, manuscripts and typescripts, maps, photographs, microforms, and printed materials.
Among our many collections are the "Bonnie and Clyde" Barrow Gang materials of the Dallas Police Department; the John F. Kennedy/Dallas Police Department records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy; the earliest extant City of Dallas Charter; and over a quarter million images documenting the growth and public services of the City of Dallas. We also maintain thousands of permanently valuable documents, maps, and architectural plans reflecting the actions of every aspect of Dallas government.
The Archives is also responsible for the preservation microfilming of the City Secretary´s council action files, which contain the originals of all City ordinances and resolutions, meeting minutes, agenda, and support documentation.
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