University of Texas Arlington

Bill Wood Photo Company Photograph Collection:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Wood, Bill, 1912-1973. Bill Wood Photo Company
Title: Bill Wood Photo Company Photograph Collection
Dates: 1937-1969
1946-1969
Abstract: Will S. (Bill) Wood, Jr., was a noted commercial photographer in Fort Worth, Texas from 1937 until his death in 1973. In 1937, he began operating a photography company established by his father, Will S. Wood, Sr., in 1930. The company, Wood Photo Service, eventually became known as the Bill Wood Photo Company and offered professional photography services, studio portrait services, photographic equipment and supplies, and film processing services. Collection contains silver gelatin prints (6,406), and safety negatives (70) of a wide range of subjects depicting people, organizations, business, and industrial firms in and around Fort Worth, Texas, produced by the Bill Wood Photo Company. Most of the collection consists of 8" x 10" black and white prints, although 54 color prints are also included.
Identification: AR320
Extent: 20 boxes (8.3 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Historical Note

Will S. (Bill) Wood, Jr. was a noted commercial photographer in Fort Worth, Texas from 1937 until his death in 1973. In 1937, he began operating a photography company established by his father, Will S. Wood, Sr., in 1930. The company was first known as Wood Photo Service and eventually became known as the Bill Wood Photo Company, offering professional photography services, studio portrait services, photographic equipment and supplies, and film processing services. Photographs produced by the Bill Wood Photo Company captured a wide range of mostly middle and upper class subjects in and around Fort Worth for over three decades including people, organizations, events, and business and industrial firms. The company was located on Throckmorton from 1937 until 1970.

During World War II, Bill Wood studied naval aviation and gunnery photography, becoming a photographer's mate third class and an instructor at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. His father ran the family business during his absence.


Scope and Contents

The Bill Wood Photo Company Photograph Collection is composed of 6,406 photographs and 70 safety negatives, most of which date from 1946 through 1969. Only 54 photographs are color prints; all others are black and white. Most of the prints are 8″×10″ in size. The photographs were taken in and around Fort Worth, Texas, by Will S. (Bill) Wood, Jr., or by employees of the Bill Wood Photo Company, a local commercial photography firm. In most cases, each print was stamped on its verso with a Bill Wood Photo Company stamp after processing. Subsequently, the staff added an identification number, which indicated the year of production. In almost every case, the identification number also designated the chronological sequence of the film exposures. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the subjects in the prints and negatives were identified. The subjects of the photographs include a wide range of mostly middle and upper class subjects in and around Fort Worth for over three decades including people, organizations, events, and business and industrial firms.

By far the greatest number of photographs in the collection was the result of the employment of Bill Wood by local business and industrial firms. These are relatively impersonal records of activities, equipment, events, facilities, meetings, merchandise, personnel, and procedures. Although some social occasions are included, such as holiday office parties, most of these photographs were taken for business, financial, insurance, or legal purposes. Many were taken for use in advertisements. These include depictions of billboards, exhibits, signs, and window displays. Public relations events, such as contests, demonstrations, grand openings, and home shows, are also represented. Photographs of the industrial environment provide the only examples in the collection of the lives of low income groups and minorities. Industrial workers are portrayed both in group pictures and while performing their jobs. These individuals are not identified, except in some cases by the company for which they work. The photographs provide good evidence of prevailing industrial working conditions in Fort Worth at that period.

Other significant topics in the collection include scenes of the countryside around Fort Worth, the medical community, schools, sports, transportation, city streets, and damage caused by catastrophic events. When considered within the context of the uses of commercial photography, the Bill Wood Photo Company provides excellent visual documentation of the culture of mid-twentieth century Fort Worth and its surrounding area.


Organization

Photographs in the The Bill Wood Photo Company Photograph Collection were arranged to offer the researcher both good subject and proper name access to its material. Standard Library of Congress subject headings were used for conformity. The only alternate terms used were: "William S. Wood, Jr.," and "Color Photography." Only the items under the subseries term "Photography" are grouped according to format rather than subject.There are 25 main headings and 47 subheadings. The photographs were arranged chronologically under their subject headings.

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
Wood, Will, Jr., (Will Swearingen), 1912-1973--Archives.
Wood, Will S., Sr., (Will Swearingen), 1886-1956--Archives.
Organizations
Bill Wood Photo Company--Photograph collections.
Subjects
Photographers--Texas--Fort Worth--Photograph collections--20th century.
Commercial photography--Texas--Fort Worth--Photograph collections--20th century.
Business enterprises--Texas--Fort Worth--Photograph collections--20th century.
Associations, institutions, etc.--Texas--Forth Worth--20th century--Photograph collections.
Photograph collections--Texas--Fort Worth--20th century.
Places
Fort Worth (Tex.)--20th century--Photograph collections.
Fort Worth (Tex.)--Social life and customs--20th century--Photograph collections.
Alternate Titles
Photograph Collection

Related Materials

Bill Wood Collection, International Center of Photography


Administrative Information

Provenance

Bill Wood was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1973. The business was sold and moved to a location on Beach Street and quickly failed. The new owners quickly sold off his collection.

A portion consisting of approximately 20,000 images was acquired by actress Diane Keaton; she donated them to the International Center of Photography in 2008.

Images in this collection were first acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Stewart of Fort Worth. Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins Garrett purchased the Stewart's collection and in 1988, donated the collection to The University of Texas Libraries Special Collections.

Citation

Bill Wood Photo Company Photograph Collection, AR320, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Acquisition

Gift, 1988.


Administrative Information

Grant Support

The retrospective updating and conversion of this finding aid was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Special Collections "Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records" project, 2014-2015.


Container List

Box Folder
1 1-6 Animals.
See also Beverage industry, Commercial organizations, Food industry, Meat industry.
1-4 Dogs, 1946-1962.
Family pets, show dogs.
(39 prints)
5-6 Horses, 1946-1968.
Pony rides, show horses.
(17 prints)



Box
1-2 Banquets.
Cook-outs, formal dinners, luncheons. See also Meetings, Restaurants, Rewards & prizes.
Box Folder
1 7-32 Banquets, 1948-1962.
(268 prints)
Box Folder
2 1-6 Banquets, 1962-1969.
(57 prints)



Box Folder
2 7-9 Boats.
Boat shows, marinas, motorboats.
7-9 Boats, 1947-1955, undated
(40 prints)



Box Folder
2 10-15 Broadcasting.
Television and radio station activities and personalities, television retail.
10-15 Broadcasting, 1949-1968.
(61 prints)



Box
2-3 Buildings.
Architectural drawings and models, exteriors, some interiors.
Box Folder
2 16-30 Commercial buildings, 1941-1963.
Fort Worth skyline, retail and industrial buildings, shopping centers.
(153 prints)
Box Folder
3 1-3 Commercial buildings, 1964-1968, undated
(34 prints)
4-6 Hotels & taverns, 1947-1969.
(26 prints)
7-9 Morgues and mortuaries, 1947-1960.
Cemeteries, funeral homes.
(28 prints)
10-14 Construction, 1948-1967, undated
See also Religious buildings.
(75 prints)
15-23 Dwellings, 1946-1968.
(98 prints)
24 Apartment houses, 1949-1961.
(12 prints)
25-29 Religious buildings, 1948-1967.
Chapels, Convents.
(44 prints)



Box
3-4 Celebrations.
Anniversaries, parties, reunions, special occasions.
Box Folder
3 30-35 Celebrations, 1947-1959.
(61 prints)
Box Folder
4 1-5 Celebrations, 1959-1967.
(51 prints)
6-17 Holidays, 1946-1968.
Children, family gatherings, office parties, photo greeting cards, window displays.
(124 prints)



Box Folder
4 18-24 Clothing and Dress.
Billboards, fashion shows, window displays.
18-24 Clothing and Dress, 1948-1968.
(72 prints)



Box Folder
4 25-32 Country Life.
Farm buildings, landscapes. See also Roads.
25-32 Country Life, 1949-1967.
(79 prints)



Box Folder
5 1-8 Disasters.
Damage from explosions, fire, flood, ice, and snow. See also Dwellings.
1-8 Disasters, 1949-1965.
(81 prints)



Box Folder
5 9-11 Electricity.
Electric and telephone company equipment, facilities, and power lines.
9-11 Electricity, 1949-1967, undated
(32 prints)



Box Folder
5 12-22 Entertainment.
Amateur and professional performers, primarily singers, dancers, and musicians, choirs, musical instrument retail.
12-22 Entertainment, 1948-1969.
(105 prints)



Box Folder
5 23-32 Medicine.
Architectural drawings, hospitals; medical conventions, equipment; and personnel, surgery.
23-32 Medicine, 1948-1967.
(107 prints)



Box
6-7 Meetings.
Conventions, small and large groups, speakers. See also Banquets.
Meetings, 1946-1965.
(305 prints)
Box Folder
7 1-5 Meetings, 1965-1969.
(52 prints)



Box
7-12 Organizations.
Commercial and noncommercial. See also Banquets, Boats, Broadcasting, Buildings, Celebrations, Clothing and dress, Disasters, Electricity, Entertainment, Meetings, Sports, Transportation.
Box
7-10 Commercial organizations.
Exteriors and interiors of businesses and industry, some architectural drawings.
Box Folder
7 6-33 Commercial organizations, 1941-1959.
(301 prints)
Box Folder
8 1-14 Commercial organizations, 1960-1969, undated
(143 prints)
15-18 Business and finance, 1949-1966.
Banks, grand openings, procedures, signs.
(42 prints)
19-22 Cleaning establishments, 1949-1968.
Dry cleaners, laundromats, cleaning equipment.
(36 prints)
23-24 Department stores, 1948-1962.
Personnel, signs.
(21 prints)
25 Drugstores, 1950-1968.
(12 prints)
26-35 Food industry, 1948-1964.
Animals, displays, equipment, personnel, production, promotions.
(100 prints)
Box Folder
9 1-8 Beverage industry, 1947-1967.
Billboards, bottled water, liquor stores.
(85 prints)
9-18 Grocery stores, 1948-1964.
Grand openings, merchandise, retail stores, warehouses.
(106 prints)
19-20 Meat industry, 1949-1966.
Cattle, packing plants.
(20 prints)
21-22 Restaurants, 1949-1969.
See also Banquets.
(22 prints)
23-26 Furniture industry, 1948-1968, undated
Displays, home shows, signs.
(34 prints)
27 Handicrafts, 1958-1969.
Craft shops, dolls, merchandise.
(14 prints)
28 Insurance, 1951-1963.
(14 prints)
Box Folder
10 1-8 Newspapers, 1950-1968, undated
Equipment, personnel, including paperboys, procedures.
(89 prints)
9-27 Offices, 1948-1967.
Billboards, equipment, exhibits, personnel.
(209 prints)
28-30 Sewing machines, 1949-1966.
Exhibits, merchandise, repair, retail stores.
(32 prints)
Box
11-12 Organizations (non-commercial).
Clubs, displays, formal occasions, fraternities, group pictures, sororities.
Box Folder
11 1-31 Organizations, 1948-1961.
(329 prints)
Box Folder
12 1-10 Organizations, 1961-1968.
(99 prints)



Box
12-15 People.
Individual and group portraits.
Box Folder
12 11-29 People, 1941-1953.
Family portraits, small and large mixed groups.
(195 prints)
Box Folder
13 1-26 People, 1953-1968, undated
(271 prints)
27-30 Children, 1947-1951.
See also Celebrations, Entertainment, Holidays, Religious services, Schools, Sports.
(43 prints)
Box Folder
14 1-4 Children, 1951-1969.
(37 prints)
5-14 Infants, 1946-1955.
(100 prints)
15-31 Men, 1941-1969, undated
(172 prints)
32-34 Women, 1941-1959.
(31 prints)
Box Folder
15 1-3 Women, 1959-1969.
(27 prints)



Box Folder
15 4-28 Photography.
4-14 Aerial photographs, 1946-1969, undated
Commercial and residential structures, lakes, suburban development.
(114 prints)
15-17 Color photography, 1959-1968.
(54 prints)
18-24 Film photonegatives, undated
(70 negatives)
25 Landscape photography, 1953.
(5 prints)
26-28 William S. Wood, Jr., 1948-1964, undated
Bill Wood Photo Company, genealogical records, portraits of Wood and his family.
(27 prints)



Box Folder
15 29-34 Politics and Government.
Buildings, court rooms, judges, politicians.
29-34 Politics and Government, 1949-1967.
(60 prints)



Box Folder
16 1 Refuse.
Dumping sites, garbage.
1 Refuse, 1949-1963.
(13 prints)



Box
16-17 Rewards and Prizes.
Awards, contests, drawings. See also Broadcasts.
Box Folder
16 2-33 Rewards and Prizes, 1948-1963.
(315 prints)
Box Folder
17 1-11 Rewards and Prizes, 1963-1968.
(106 prints)



Box
17-18 Rites and Ceremonies.
Box Folder
17 12-13 Rites and Ceremonies, 1953-1967.
Dedications, graduations, ground breakings.
(23 prints)
14-18 Religious services, 1947-1962.
Baptism, confirmation.
(47 prints)
19-29 Weddings, 1947-1950.
Formal, informal.
(108 prints)
Box Folder
18 1-24 Weddings, 1950-1967.
(240 prints)



Box Folder
19 1-8 Roads.
1-8 Roads, 1951-1968, undated
(87 prints)



Box Folder
19 9-23 Schools.
Elementary, preschool, secondary.
9-23 Schools, 1947-1968.
(154 prints)



Box
19-20 Sports.
Equipment, facilities, team pictures.
Box Folder
19 24 Sports, 1948-1966.
Archery, soap box derby, trampoline park, water skiing.
(13 prints)
25-27 Baseball, 1950-1960.
Stadium.
(29 prints)
28-30 Bowling, 1949-1966.
(25 prints)
Box Folder
20 1 Football, 1946-1949.
(8 prints)
2-7 Golf, 1953-1967.
Celebrities.
(65 prints)
8 Ice hockey, 1969.
(6 prints)
9 Ice skating, 1949.
(9 prints)
10 Swimming, 1957-1959.
(6 prints)
11-12 Tennis, 1958-1961.
(16 prints)



Box Folder
20 13-28 Transportation.
Architectural drawings, automotive and freight industry, exhibits, promotions, signs, vehicles.
13-25 Transportation, 1941-1967, undated
See also Roads.
(141 prints)
26-28 Accidents, 1951-1969.
Vehicle damage.
(25 prints)



Box
20 Universities and Colleges.
29-31 Universities and Colleges, 1948-1967.
See also Rites & ceremonies.
(35 prints)