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Can anyone tell me what's happened to the Bob Bailey Studio that I think used to be at 931 Yale in the Heights? I'm getting an out of service message on the phone number I had for them and information can't find a new one. Information on how to find some of their photos on-line would be wonderful, too. Thanks so much!

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The studio is no longer in operation and the family heirs sold the entire Bob Bailey photo collection (quite extensive) to Texas A&M Univ. I don't know if the univ. allows access to the collection  or sells the photos.

As of 2003, the collectoin was sold to UT-Austin, not Texas A&M. (minor difference)

In 2003 UT-Austin was busy archiving the collection and it was not available to researchers. I was told it could take years to archive it and make it available to the public. I don't know what the current status is.

The Houston Press did a major story on the Bailey collection around that time. You may try to find it online at their web site. Their archives are free, last time I checked. I remember reading that the thousands upon thousands of unknown images were mostly photos of machine parts.

There was a web site relating to the collection with views of the calendars that were published yearly for a period of time. I can't find that web site right now.

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The question begs to be asked... what the hell is such a great collection of Houston photos doing in Austin? Are the best photos of Chicago, IL located in Springfield? Are the best photos of Philadelphia located in Hartford? What the heck happened here?

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  • 1 month later...
I have posted pictures from here before.  Once I went to the studio on Yale.  Mr. Bailey was a nice old gentleman and let us paw around the hundreds of stacks of Houston photos.  It was great.

I went there too, ca. 1977. I wanted some of those pics - actually, lots of them - so bad, but couldn't afford anything at the time. Always meant to get back and didn't and still regret it. Mostly what I saw, however, were not in great shape, lots of scratches, tears, etc. I remember lots of photos of Hollywood celebs who had come to town for motion picture openings, photographed standing next to their big cars in what was probably Hermann Park and in front of the big downtown motion picture houses.

Good to know they're available, even if I have to go to Austin.

BTW, does anybody know - was Bailey Brothers and Bob Bailey the same firm?

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  • 1 month later...
I went there too, ca. 1977. I wanted some of those pics - actually, lots of them - so bad, but couldn't afford anything at the time. Always meant to get back and didn't and still regret it. Mostly what I saw, however, were not in great shape, lots of scratches, tears, etc. I remember lots of photos of Hollywood celebs who had come to town for motion picture openings, photographed standing next to their big cars in what was probably Hermann Park and in front of the big downtown motion picture houses.

Good to know they're available, even if I have to go to Austin.

BTW, does anybody know - was Bailey Brothers and Bob Bailey the same firm?

Yes, if memory serves, it was originally Bailey Bros., then one of them left and it was just "Bob Bailey"...

The problem with the archive while it was still in family hands is that it was super expensive to order prints. Something like $30 for a 5x7 or an 8x10. I ordered a few over the years but it was kind of frustrating knowing there were thousands and thousands that you would never even see. The calendars were OK but of course they always concentrated on "celebrities" visiting Houston (little interest to me). But Bailey's archive was so much more than that...countless images of local theaters, bars, night clubs, diners, you name it, going back to the '20s. It really is an incredible collection.

As to the question why the city or UH didn't purchase the collection...you must be confusing Houston with some place that actually gives a damn about it's past.

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Yes, if memory serves, it was originally Bailey Bros., then one of them left and it was just "Bob Bailey"...

The problem with the archive while it was still in family hands is that it was super expensive to order prints. Something like $30 for a 5x7 or an 8x10. I ordered a few over the years but it was kind of frustrating knowing there were thousands and thousands that you would never even see. The calendars were OK but of course they always concentrated on "celebrities" visiting Houston (little interest to me). But Bailey's archive was so much more than that...countless images of local theaters, bars, night clubs, diners, you name it, going back to the '20s. It really is an incredible collection.

As to the question why the city or UH didn't purchase the collection...you must be confusing Houston with some place that actually gives a damn about it's past.

I came across this somewhere since the original post: the brother's name was Marvin.

I believe Storey Sloane wants $100 for an 8x10 from his collection of Bailey Brothers photos.

"Historic" - to the typical Houstonian, this means 'something remembered from childhood or youth, maybe as much as 10 or 15 years ago.

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  • 5 weeks later...
Can anyone tell me what's happened to the Bob Bailey Studio that I think used to be at 931 Yale in the Heights? I'm getting an out of service message on the phone number I had for them and information can't find a new one. Information on how to find some of their photos on-line would be wonderful, too. Thanks so much!

I now office in the former Bob Bailey studios building at 931 Yale St with Houston House & Home Magazine and Dallas/Fort Worth House&Home magazine . I know that the former "Houston Life" magazine ran his/their photos on their back page back in the mid 90s. So there may be some archives you can look for of that magazine. Also, I believe the main library downtown's adjacent historic building has some of the photos. If not, the currator is an encyclopedia of Houston history and can point you toward more information concerning the Bailey series. It is apparently the largest collection of historic city photography not currently being displayed. The Houston Press did a story on the Bailey collection a couple of years ago. You could search their website for back issues concerning info. Hope that helps. Not sure when the restoration process at UT ends and can't verify where or when they'll end up at A&M.

But isn't it about time (much like many cities) we have a City of Houston Museum in conjunction with Sesquicentennial Park or The City of Houston or a historic preservation council? It would be great for school children to be able to take fieldtrips to such a facility where they could see Bailey's photos of Houston over the last 80 years as well as learn about some of our interesting characters who helped create the place we all live.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work at the Center for American History at UT, and we're currently digitizing 5,000 images from the Bob Bailey archive. About a third of these images are currently online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00451/cah-00451.html. The form of the finding aid may be a little unfamiliar if you've never done research in a historical archive before, but scroll down the page and you'll find links to images by subject (e.g. aerial views, cultural facilities, sports) as well as links to images from individual folders.

The public may order reproductions of images. See http://www.cah.utexas.edu/divisions/Austin...hotoprices.html for more information about ordering.

We're so excited to be able to get these out to the public! I hope you enjoy them and I'd appreciate any suggestions that you have.

Amy Bowman

Center for American History

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That is absolutely awesome! :D What a great resource for the city. I wish there was a book of these!

When we visited the studio all the photos were just piled up in stacks all over the place - I can see where it took a few years to catalog and scan them. Thanks so much.

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I work at the Center for American History at UT, and we're currently digitizing 5,000 images from the Bob Bailey archive.

It's good to hear that CAH is finally moving out of the dark ages. In 2003 I could not even get an image scanned - I could only purchase a print made from a copy negative. Apparently they didn't even have the capability to scan. Yes, that was in 2003!!

To be fair, UT-Austin wasn't the only library which was slow to move to digital archiving. But I expected better of UT-Austin.

It's great to see that so much is being made available online. There are so many amazing photos in the Bailey collection. Now, if only they could get the expressway and freeway topic online.

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I checked on the original calendar photo. The cars in the middle and right are Chrysler Imperials. Still, nice.

Silver Dollar Jim West was also the owner of the West Building on Main St.

Thanks for the correction.

Personally, I think he had better taste in automobiles than architecture...

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  • 3 months later...

According to 002 magazine:

March 7 - April 23

Houston from Behing the Lens: The Bob Bailey Photographic and Architectural Foundation Trust

A major exhibition of the photographs, blah blah, on display in the Heritage Society Museum Gallery. 1100 Bagby. For info 713-655-1912x202

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Howdy. I dunno if this is old news or not, but I stumbled across

some good pictures of Houston in past years. Many topics.

Check out both the "calenders", and "topics". Both have a load

of old pictures. I stumbled across this while looking for something

totally unrelated...Go figure... Like I say, may be old news..Wouldn't

be surprised if the site owner hung around here at times... :/

There are a lot of pictures, and will take a while to see them all.

I must have been on there for 3-4 hours last night looking at them

all. Something interesting...On the 2nd calender, I think "1994", one

of the pictures is of a gambling house that was in the S.Main, Stella

link area. I remember that place before it was razed... When I was

in my teens, we used to drive out there and prowl around. You drove

through a gate like place, and then a driveway led all around the old place.

It had an old swimming pool, and I heard rumors that it was once a

gambling house, but that calender pix confirmed what I had heard.

We used to go out there and drink beer, etc...:/ We quit going there as

the police starting running everyone off being it was abandoned, but

still private property. I do remember once going inside the old place

for a look. It was pretty ramshackle at that time, which was in the mid 70's.

It's totally gone now. They tore it down a few years ago.

The pix site is at:

http://users.ev1.net/%7Eplhailey/hpat/

MK

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Merged with existing thread.

The house you refer to can be seen in the 1995 calendar in the link you provided - it was Jakie Freedman's "Domain Privee", which (according to the calendar) was shut down in the 50's due to Texas enforcing its gambling laws. The owner moved the operation to Nevada where gambling was legal.

Thanks for your recollections of this house, nm5k. Anyone have any information about what happened to it?

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Merged with existing thread.

The house you refer to can be seen in the 1995 calendar in the link you provided - it was Jakie Freedman's "Domain Privee", which (according to the calendar) was shut down in the 50's due to Texas enforcing its gambling laws. The owner moved the operation to Nevada where gambling was legal.

Thanks for your recollections of this house, nm5k. Anyone have any information about what happened to it?

I tried searching for more info or pix on that place, but pretty slim pickings so far. I did find that

he was the one that started up the Sands hotel in Vegas. This was after he left Houston I assume

in the early -mid 50's. I don't know if the buildings were every occupied after he left or not. I have

a 1960 photo where you see it from the north looking south. At that time, it looked fairly well intact,

as compared to the other photo. But when I was there in the 70's, it had looked to be abandoned

for quite some time, and weeds had overgown the place. There were still the bushes in front , that

blocked the view, and also had bushes leading up the driveway a ways I think. We used to drive

our cars in and park in the back. When we left, we just continued the circle on out. At that time,

I was pretty fascinated with the old pool, which seemed to have looked to be from the 30's maybe.

It was pretty old, even in the 70's. Anyway, it was a pretty popular "party" spot for many , but

all the traffic eventually drew complaints I guess, and the cops started running people off. I remember

it was there a good while longer, but a few years back I drove by, and it seemed to be all gone.

I'm real close to there. Maybe I'll run by later, and see if anything has been built there yet.

BTW, I was looking at that 1960 map, and it kinda dawned on me that the road that the place

was built on was likely part of "old Main". I always thought that road looked pretty old even back then.

Not like all the others around that area that were part of the planned neighborhood. ie: willowbend, etc.

MK

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I now office in the former Bob Bailey studios building at 931 Yale St with Houston House & Home Magazine and Dallas/Fort Worth House&Home magazine . I know that the former "Houston Life" magazine ran his/their photos on their back page back in the mid 90s. So there may be some archives you can look for of that magazine. Also, I believe the main library downtown's adjacent historic building has some of the photos. If not, the currator is an encyclopedia of Houston history and can point you toward more information concerning the Bailey series. It is apparently the largest collection of historic city photography not currently being displayed. The Houston Press did a story on the Bailey collection a couple of years ago. You could search their website for back issues concerning info. Hope that helps. Not sure when the restoration process at UT ends and can't verify where or when they'll end up at A&M.

But isn't it about time (much like many cities) we have a City of Houston Museum in conjunction with Sesquicentennial Park or The City of Houston or a historic preservation council? It would be great for school children to be able to take fieldtrips to such a facility where they could see Bailey's photos of Houston over the last 80 years as well as learn about some of our interesting characters who helped create the place we all live.

Actually such an entity exist in Houston. It is the Heritage Society which maintains all of the historic structures in Sam Houston Park. The mission of the group is the preservation and interpretation of Houston history. It is a private non profit. Like most museums it requires a large membership base for support and for furthering the aims of the organization. Come down and see the Bob Bailey exhibit and if you like what you see pick up a membership brochure.

According to 002 magazine:

March 7 - April 23

Houston from Behing the Lens: The Bob Bailey Photographic and Architectural Foundation Trust

A major exhibition of the photographs, blah blah, on display in the Heritage Society Museum Gallery. 1100 Bagby. For info 713-655-1912x202

Thanks for the posting. I would encourage the readers to come to the museum and see this collection. These items were given to The Heritage Society by Mr. James Lee, who personally purchased the Bailey Collection and spent countless hours trying to find a home for them in Houston. He created the Trust that donated the vast archive of Bailey material to the Center for American History in Austin. The photographs in the collection will be housed in the permanant collections of THe Heritage Society. Its free and opened on the weekends. Thanks Wallace Saage Curator 713 683 0188

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  • 3 months later...
Can anyone tell me what's happened to the Bob Bailey Studio that I think used to be at 931 Yale in the Heights? I'm getting an out of service message on the phone number I had for them and information can't find a new one. Information on how to find some of their photos on-line would be wonderful, too. Thanks so much!

I believe that the studio is Sloan Gallery located at Fondren/Westheimer, that purchased a lot of this work of Bob Bailey's from the Houston Public Library with with the remainder going to UT's library because they didn't have the funds to inventory all of the pix. I spoke to these guys maybe 2 months ago...go to www.sloanegallery.com. I think this might get you going in the right direction. Are you looking for photos of a certain area or block downtown?

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  • 1 year later...

If you are interested in purchasing a Bob Bailey photo, a friend of mine is reluctantly willing to sell his. It is a photo of Main Steet. In the photo are the Metetropolitan, Loews Station, Levys and the Kirby Theater featuring "Scarlet Empress and starring Marlene Dietrich and John Long. Feel free to contact my at bvela622@yahoo.com. Also it is in it's original frame and has the original signature gold sticker.

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If you are interested in purchasing a Bob Bailey photo, a friend of mine is reluctantly willing to sell his. It is a photo of Main Steet. In the photo are the Metropolitan, Loew's Station, Levys and the Kirby Theater featuring "Scarlet Empress and starring Marlene Dietrich and John Long. Feel free to contact my at bvela622@yahoo.com. Also it is in it's original frame and has the original signature gold sticker.

I wonder if it's ok to make copies and sell them? I mean from a legal standpoint. I personally would hate to sell an "original" I mean making copies is also a safe thing to do. I have been scanning historical family photos not just for a keepsake but in the event of loss, fire, etc.

The film above and stars should date the photo quite accurately unless it was a rerun of course. I believe these theaters were always 1st rate and seldom showed reruns.

Ok, just did a search and Deitrich's film was 1934.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025746/

Thanks for the tip above too! :D

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I have the same photo as the one mentioned above, along with about 10 others I purchased from their studio in the Heights in the late 1990's. I do know that when I wanted to use the photo I purchased for a marketing piece I was working on, I got in touch with the Trust who held the photos prior to the UT acquiring, and not only did I have to pay a small fee ($250 I think), I had to also give a credit on the piece. And his was on the photo i owned.

I doubt that they are available for usage now, but it's certainly worth a try.

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I am also very glad that these have been made available on-line. However, I wish that you could 'right click' and 'save picture as'. ...as opposed to having to 'print screen' (although it is nice to include the associated text somtimes).

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It is so sad that Bailey's Houston photos couldn't be held in a repository in Houston. Bleh.

May sound a bit outlandish but that man should have a statue or commemoration in his name. He truly was a genius and trailblazor for early photography of Houston, just like Arnold Genthe whom documented the early years of San Francisco.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Genthe

Had it not been for Bailey's determination and persistance, we today would not have his excellent works. We need to call Ken Burns so he can do an American Experience documentary on this man. :)

Here's to you Mr Bailey!

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  • 4 months later...

I visited Mr. Bailey's Studio many times and purchased several photos from him.

Some I purchased are not listed in the UT archive as yet.

Some others are incorrectly labeled--for instance, Stan Musial photos. Several are posted but none are Stan Musial, only Cardinal team mates from a late 1940's visit by the Cardinals to old Buff Stadium.

Mr. Bailey's collection does/did contain Musial photos however, as I got Mr. Musial to sign a 16 X 20 photo I purchased from Mr. Bailey. Neither Mr. Musial nor his agent had ever seen the photo before---a spectaular pic of Stan The Man at the instant of impact with a pitch.

Maybe Mr. Musial's agent has purchased the rights to that particular photo----or else it hasn't been scanned yet.

I shuffled through many of the pictures which are posted already at one time or another. There are many more to come--I hope!

Some of Mr. Bailey's photos used to be on display on the walls of the Luby's Cafeteria in the Heights.

Edited by Texsport
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I answered my own question. The Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archives are located on line and the digital images can be accessed at : http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00451/cah-00451.html

I didn't think the University of Texas would keep them private without any access. After all it is a state institution and the topic, "Houston" is just too BIG and important to keep it out of the public eye.

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I answered my own question. The Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archives are located on line and the digital images can be accessed at : http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00451/cah-00451.html

I didn't think the University of Texas would keep them private without any access. After all it is a state institution and the topic, "Houston" is just too BIG and important to keep it out of the public eye.

See the calendar section everyone!

They used to sell those at all local bookstores then suddenly stopped?

I bet sales/interest dropped so they stopped printing....grrrrrrrr :angry:

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On closer observation of the University of Texas, Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archives I have found that just about all you can do is view them. It's not a very Houston friendly access system. On the other hand I am familiar with a similar Photographic Archive for the State of Michigan and more specifically the City of Detroit. Anybody whose anyone that has a considerable large file of photographics related to these two subjects i.e. Michigan and Detroit donates there images to Wayne State University which is an urban university within the city limits of Detroit. Organizations like the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, private donors with significant collections and many others have contributed to this massive collection. And the nice part about it is you can download the images and use them as long as you credit the university. Here's a link to this very impressive collection:

http://dlxs.lib.wayne.edu/cgi/i/image/imag...=vmc;page=index

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I work at the Center for American History at UT, and we're currently digitizing 5,000 images from the Bob Bailey archive. About a third of these images are currently online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00451/cah-00451.html. The form of the finding aid may be a little unfamiliar if you've never done research in a historical archive before, but scroll down the page and you'll find links to images by subject (e.g. aerial views, cultural facilities, sports) as well as links to images from individual folders.

The public may order reproductions of images. See http://www.cah.utexas.edu/divisions/Austin...hotoprices.html for more information about ordering.

We're so excited to be able to get these out to the public! I hope you enjoy them and I'd appreciate any suggestions that you have.

Amy Bowman

Center for American History

Thank you so much for posting this, Amy! I went through just now and looked at some of these gorgeous photos and so far, my hands-down favorites have to be the Trans Texas Airlines stewardesses in their cowboy boots! :)

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Thank you so much for posting this, Amy! I went through just now and looked at some of these gorgeous photos and so far, my hands-down favorites have to be the Trans Texas Airlines stewardesses in their cowboy boots! :)

My all time fav's is the ones when celebs/movie stars are seen in publicity stills at old historical landmarks or theaters promoting a recent new film, etc. Major cool!

and of course the Prince's Carhops stills. :P

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Thank you so much for posting this, Amy! I went through just now and looked at some of these gorgeous photos and so far, my hands-down favorites have to be the Trans Texas Airlines stewardesses in their cowboy boots! :)

Dear Amy,

Check out a truly pedestrian friendly photographic collection donated to a university of a major metropolitan area that allows people to view and download the images as long as credit is given to the collection. This is what I would consider a public service to the citizens of the area without regard to their financial condition. This is one of my pet pieves about the internet. It was a great place for the freedom of information exchange. Now, it's becoming another venue for commerse at the public expense.

http://dlxs.lib.wayne.edu/cgi/i/image/imag...=vmc;page=index

Do a random search, bring up the image and you will see that you can download the image for future reference. Oh and by the way this is not a red state, blue state issue it's a freedom of information issue. I hope the University of Texas would adopt this policy concerning their photo collections.

CampLogan1917

Edited by CampLogan1917
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  • 4 months later...

Wow! I hadn't looked at this site in ages and was glad to see so many people have checked out the Bailey photos online.

One thing to note. The Center for American History mounted a searchable database a couple of years ago; you may find the images that you're looking for more quickly this way. See http://www.cah.utexas.edu/db/dmr/. You can choose the "browse by collection" option and look at all of the Bailey images. And maybe you'll find some interesting pictures by other photographers, too!

In regards to misidentified images, please forward these to Hal Richardson at hal@mail.utexas.edu (I left UT almost three years ago). We recorded the information that was provided on the negative sleeves, but unfortunately did not have the time to do extensive research on each image. Your info will be much appreciated, especially if you can point to a reliable image source that verifies your identification.

I won't delve too much into the issue of why users can't download free high-res images from the site--it's a complicated one, and since I don't work there anymore, I can't speak for the institution; contact the CAH if you have any questions. But know that it's always free to go to the CAH and see the "real" thing!

Best,

Amy

Edited by amyb
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Amy - I promise there are a lot more Houstonians than just those who have posted here who have found the Bailey photos online and very much enjoyed them. In my opiniong, one of the best things that can be done to help preserve public access to historic photos is to get them into the hands of an institution like U.T.

I'm betting that most of those who posted above, like me, do very much appreciate the photos being available and indexed online; are grateful that they were purchased by a Texas university (that the photos were not purchased by a Houston institution is more of a criticism of local institutions than U.T., to the extent it's a criticism at all, and not just a regret); and understand that purchasing the photos and making them available for viewing online cost the university money. Had they been writing to the university rather than on this message board, most likely would have mentioned some or all of that - and I hope that you and any others who were/are involved in the digitization project who may be reading didn't take the above comments as ingratitude. The group of people who post on the Historic Houston section of this board are, I'm sure, among those most grateful for having some degree of online access to the photographs.

And thanks for the contact information for labeling comments - I also have seen a number of what I believe to be errors in labeling, and wish now I'd kept track of them. I may go back and try to find some of them.

----------

Others - At least these photos are available in some form online - unlike the Chron and Post historic archives. And the vast majority of other historic photos of Houston.

Still, I think there are some fair questions to be asked about why the original-size Bailey images aren't available online, and I don't think Houstonians should not ask them just out of politeness - U.T. is a public institution, as someone else pointed out. Seeing the Life Magazine archive of historic Houston photos that Google recently made available made me that much more curious about U.T.'s decision. U.T. is not Google, obviously - but the Bailey photos aren't the Life Magazine archives, either. Plus, some of the differences between U.T. and Google would seem to make it more likely that U.T. would make original-size photos available online. I know the copyright issues can be complicated, but I'm more curious about the apparent decision to maintain any copyright protection, and whether it's permanent or just until certain costs are recouped.

I don't want to divert attention in this thread from the Bailey photographs by getting too deep into more esoteric topics, but I believe that, just as Houstonians have an interest in historic Houston structures that should not necessarily be trumped by the rights of the current owners of those structures, we have an interest in historic news coverage and photographs concerning our town that should not necessarily be trumped by current ownership interests. As much as many Texans hate hearing any suggestion that property rights should be anything other than absolute, it's a view that many cities and states (in the case of historic structures) and many newspapers and libraries (in the case of historic news and photographs and similar information) support to some extent - the hard part is striking the right balance among the interests, and I get that. But it would be nice if we got to at least hear some kind of explanation from the Chronicles and U.T.'s of the world - even if it just comes down to money. In fact, I bet there are those who would donate money to U.T. to help increase online access to historical materials - heck, I'd donate to the Chronicle if I could earmark the money for helping make their historic archives available/searchable online.

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