40 Glorious Photos From Four Generations of A Texas Family

A family's photo albums hark back to Sancho Panza, Lee Harvey Oswald and a 100 years of Texas history

Before placing their order for additional photographs, customers to Byrd Photo in Fort Worth , Texas, would be shown a proof. More than 10,00 of these prints and 300,000 negatives are stored at the University of North Texas’s Byrd Williams Collection – images accumulated by four generations of Texas photographers, all named Byrd Moore Williams. Beginning in the 1880s in Gainesville, the four Byrds photographed not only studio portraits but the streets, crime, Queen Elizabeth, soldiers fighting with Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa near El Paso in 1915, tele-evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Lee Harvey Oswald and more. The archive is a rich and wonderful record of Dallas, Fort Worth and Texas, offering us a sublime look at past lives and knowledge born of learning about the dead.

 

Photograph of four young girls from the ballet school posing in Byrd Williams III's studio. DATE: 1947 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of four young girls from the ballet school posing in Byrd Williams III’s studio.
DATE: 1947
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

 

Byrd Moore Williams owned a hardware store in Gainesville. But he also sold cameras and operated a darkroom in his home. The earliest prints in the collection document the Gainesville area.

Byrd Moore Williams, Jr. (Byrd Williams II) started his photographic career in college at the University of Texas in 1905. He went on to career in engineering, documenting many major projects, including the construction of the San Antonio River walk with his camera.

Byrd Williams III opened a photo service in Fort Worth. The collection contains a large number of studio prints as well as prints documenting the family’s growing interest in artistic photography. Williams III’s collection includes a significant series of prints documenting women at work in Fort Worth during the 1930s.

Byrd Williams IV continued in his father’s footsteps – sometimes literally. He shot images of the same street corners in Fort Worth 40 years later. Williams’s career has included street scenes, portraits of gun crime victims, and televangelists, among other subjects. Williams is an artist and a photography professor at Collin College.

– University of North Texas

 

Byrd III at 24 years old, Byrd IV at 59 years old

Byrd III at 24 years old, Byrd IV at 59 years old

 

KERA’s Anne Bothwell spoke to Byrd Williams IV (via Art And Seek):

My grandfather got an engineering job on the bridge that goes from Juarez to El Paso in 1915. And that was around the time that Pancho Villa’s army was whipping the Mexican army… They had to take a work crew on the Rio Grande every day and he had to go to Pancho’s train car. He lived in a train car. And they’d say “We’re just working down here. Please don’t shoot us!” He photographed Pancho’s soldiers there.

 

 

Photograph of three men with guns on horses, possibly Pancho Villa's men. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of three men with guns on horses, possibly Pancho Villa’s men. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

 

… on his dad developing Lee Harvey Oswald film for the FBI:

It was brought through by the crime lab. When the assassination happened they took investigation pictures, since we were the closest local lab, they brought the investigation pictures through Byrd Photo. They stayed with the film. They cleared all the employees. Everybody was sent home and dad developed the film with the FBI there. And about a month later they came back and sent the employees home again and they inspected the trash. … It kind of scared my dad.

 

Photograph of Byrd Williams III's stepdaughter Carol Williams, dancing with a girl named Harriet in a house in Mesquite, Texas. DATE: 19uu CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IIIPhotograph of Byrd Williams III’s stepdaughter Carol Williams, dancing with a girl named Harriet in a house in Mesquite, Texas.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

 

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. [Young ballet dancers], photograph, 1947

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. [Young ballet dancers], photograph, 1947

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. [A street in downtown Fort Worth],

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. [A street in downtown Fort Worth],

 

… on standing in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps:

I really like it. Whenever I find a roll of film of my dad’s, they’re all in order. They’re shot in 35 mm and ordered. I can make his walk downtown. It’s kind of interesting. I can see he shot on this corner and then he walked over here and shot this. I find it fun and I think it’s very wonderful standing where an artist worked.

… on whether the family photography tradition will continue (he has two sons):

No they’re not [photographers]. Neither of them had any interest in it. I was never given a choice. We were … digging this ditch. We were in a photo service. I never got asked whether I wanted to or not. I gave them the choice. They said: “No.” It stops with me.

 

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. [Dance school boys], photograph, 1948

Photograph of four boys from a dance school in sequined underwear posing for a photo. Byrd Williams III’s studio specialty was ballet. This photo was taken during one of the many $1-per-shot school and event sessions.
DATE: 1948
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Tripych of Pam Williams' life and death

Tripych of Pam Williams’ life and death

Williams, Byrd Moore, IV. [Photo of a man driving a car], photograph, 1967

Williams, Byrd Moore, IV. [Photo of a man driving a car], photograph, 1967

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. Studio in Westcliff, photograph, Date Unknown

Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III. Studio in Westcliff, photograph, Date Unknown

Photograph of an Amtrack station at night. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of an Amtrack station at night. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of five employees of a beauty salon posing at their workstations. 1950s

Photograph of five employees of a beauty salon posing at their workstations. 1950s. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of Ernie Morgan, owner of a hamburger stand in Fort Worth, cooking with his employees. DATE: 1954 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of Ernie Morgan, owner of a hamburger stand in Fort Worth, cooking with his employees.
DATE: 1954
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of Charles Williams as a baby. DATE: 1888/1889 CREATOR: Boyd, Frank

Photograph of Charles Williams as a baby.
DATE: 1888/1889
CREATOR: Boyd, Frank

Scrapbook page featuring 3 photos including 2 cyanotypes of a track and field event at UT, and a black and white photo of the Engineering building at UT. DATE: 1904/1906 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Scrapbook page featuring 3 photos including 2 cyanotypes of a track and field event at UT, and a black and white photo of the Engineering building at UT.
DATE: 1904/1906
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of a woman dancing in a burlesque show. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a woman dancing in a burlesque show.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of Charles Williams sitting with his mother, Irene Biffle Williams on a bench outside. DATE: 1923 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of Charles Williams sitting with his mother, Irene Biffle Williams on a bench outside.
DATE: 1923
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of Byrd Williams III's wife, Doris Stiles Williams, standing at a jukebox in Corpus Christi, Texas. DATE: 1948 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of Byrd Williams III’s wife, Doris Stiles Williams, standing at a jukebox in Corpus Christi, Texas.
DATE: 1948
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a large group of students on their first day at the University of Texas in 1902. Byrd Williams Sr. traveled to Austin from Gainesville to photograph his son, Byrd Jr. who is somewhere in the crowd. DATE: 1902 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Sr.

Photograph of a large group of students on their first day at the University of Texas in 1902. Byrd Williams Sr. traveled to Austin from Gainesville to photograph his son, Byrd Jr. who is somewhere in the crowd.
DATE: 1902
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Sr.

Photograph of a group of girls riding on a trolley. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a group of girls riding on a trolley.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of an indoor photograph of a living room. DATE: 1940 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of an indoor photograph of a living room.
DATE: 1940
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a man named Jack Hines posing for a portrait wearing ice skates and holding a marionette. DATE: 19uu CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a man named Jack Hines posing for a portrait wearing ice skates and holding a marionette.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a group of children wearing black face masks to perform a blackface play. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a group of children wearing black face masks to perform a blackface play.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a bathroom with a telephone in it. DATE: December 25, 1993 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a bathroom with a telephone in it.
DATE: December 25, 1993
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a man sitting at a table in a domino parlor. DATE: 1985~ CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a man sitting at a table in a domino parlor.
DATE: 1985~
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a man sitting in his living room with a gun on his lap. Written in lipstick on a mirror is "I see the lite of God in you." DATE: 1985 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a man sitting in his living room with a gun on his lap. Written in lipstick on a mirror is “I see the lite of God in you.”
DATE: 1985
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a boy named Mike standing in the yard with a life-sized doll. CREATOR: Williams,Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a boy named Mike standing in the yard with a life-sized doll.
CREATOR: Williams,Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a man named Charlie Bigley posing in shorts for a portrait. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of a man named Charlie Bigley posing in shorts for a portrait. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), III

Photograph of several people possibly drinking alcohol during prohibition from what appears to be a gasoline can. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Sr.

Photograph of several people possibly drinking alcohol during prohibition from what appears to be a gasoline can.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Sr.

Photograph of Queen Elizabeth visiting the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas. DATE: 1990~ CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of Queen Elizabeth visiting the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.
DATE: 1990~
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Cyanotype of two of Byrd Williams, Jr.'s friends exploring underground caverns in and around Austin. DATE: 1903 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Cyanotype of two of Byrd Williams, Jr.’s friends exploring underground caverns in and around Austin.
DATE: 1903
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart sitting on a chair in a reception room. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart sitting on a chair in a reception room. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a televangelist praying for a woman in a large crowd with a cameraman taping. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a televangelist praying for a woman in a large crowd with a cameraman taping.
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of a televangelist and his assistant praying for people on a stage.

Photograph of a televangelist and his assistant praying for people on a stage. Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), IV, 1951-

Photograph of three men with guns on horses, possibly Pancho Villa's men. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of three men with guns on horses, possibly Pancho Villa’s men. CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of two men crossing the Red River on a boat. DATE: 1903 CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

Photograph of two men crossing the Red River on a boat.
DATE: 1903
CREATOR: Williams, Byrd M. (Byrd Moore), Jr.

 

Buy Proof: Photographs from Four Generations of a Texas Family by Byrd M. Williams IV  –  University of North Texas Press