Ellen Schulz Quillin Photograph Collection, 1870, 1917-1940
Ellen Dorothy Schulz Quillin was born to William and Anna (Millfeld) Schulz on June 16, 1892 in Saginaw County, Michigan. She graduated from the Univeristy of Michigan in 1918 with an M.S. and did postgraduate work at the University of Texas from 1920-1922. During the earlier portion of her professional career she worked for the San Antonio Public School system and the University of Texas, teaching and directing programs in the natural sciences and botany. She was a well-known lecturer on natural history throughout her career.
She established the Witte Museum in San Antonio in 1926, and was instrumental in starting the San Antonio Museum Association. She was elected the first director of the museum, a position which she held until her retirement in 1960; she continued to serve as director emeritus until her death.
Ellen Schulz married Roy W. Quillin on July 29, 1927. They enjoyed exploring the countryside together and studying the flora and fauna of the area. They had no children.
Ellen Quillin opened the Reptile Garden on June 8, 1933. This was a tourist attraction as well as a research facility for scientific anti-venom experimentation and a center of herpetology for researchers across the United States, Mexico, and South America. She served as assistant director of the San Antonio Art Institute from 1942-1950 and as acting director until 1952.
Mrs. Quillin was a member of numerous clubs, including but not limited to the Texas Academy of Science, Texas Nature Federation, San Antonio Art League, San Antonio Conservation Society, San Antonio Garden Center, and San Antonio Science Club. She wrote several books and articles on botany, including “Wild Flowers of San Antonio and Vicinity” (1922); “Texas Cacti” with Robert Runyon (1931), “Cactus Culture” (1937), “Outdoor Adventures” with Charles Gable (1936) and “The Story of the Witte Museum” with Bess Carol Woolford (1966).
Ellen Quillin died of an apparent heart attack in her home in San Antonio on May 6, 1970.
Handbook of Texas Online, Cecilia Steinfeldt, “Quillin, Ellen Dorothy Schulz,” Accessed June 15, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fqu09
The collection is comprised of photos taken by Ellen Quillin, as well as photos collected by her but taken by others. The photos range in date from 1870 (the lone portrait in the collection) to 1940. The majority of the photos are undated, though most of the photos with known dates are from the 1920’s. The photos generally depict rural landscapes, ranching activities, and structures throughout western and central Texas, as well as along the southern Gulf Coast of Texas. A large portion of the photos depict the Chihuahuan Desert and Chisos Mountains in Brewster County (the present-day site of Big Bend National Park). Of note are photographs from San Vicente School along the Rio Grande River in Brewster County.
The collection is mainly composed of black and white photographic prints of various sizes, including 3.5 x 4.5 inches, 5 x 7 inches, 8 x 10 inches, and 6.5 x 4.5 inches. Cellulose nitrate negatives exist for some of these prints. A small number of photographic postcards are also present.
Selected material in this collection has been digitized and is available in our digital collections.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Hemisfair Campus and must be accessed via the Institute of Texan Cultures Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.
Cellulose nitrate negatives are closed to patron use.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
[Identification of item], Ellen Schulz Quillin Photograph Collection, MS 436, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
The photos were received from the Estate of Roy and Ellen Quillin in 1974.
This collection is unprocessed and no inventory is available. See the Scope and Content Note above for a link to digitized items from this collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection