Jim Alvis Photographic Collection
The Briscoe Center has acquired a photographic collection of Jim Alvis, author of Texas Passing: A Fading Rural Heritage. In 1970 Alvis was commissioned to document the transformation of Texas from a predominantly rural culture to one of the most urban states in the nation. The Alvis collection includes negatives, contact sheets, slides, handwritten notes, and 16mm film from Alvis’s travels across the state for the project.
“The Alvis photographs add to the center’s growing resources related to documentary photography, which include collections acquired from D Gorton, Robert Freson, and Steven Shames” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “These beautiful images capture Texas life in transition. I’m grateful to Sharon Alvis for donating them to the center.”
Alvis was born and grew up in Austin, graduating from UT with degrees in history and anthropology. With the assistance of Joe B. Frantz, executive director of the Texas State Historical Association, he was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1970 to document the transition of Texas from rural to urban through film and photography. Alvis eventually undertook a career in finance. He died in 2018. Shortly before his death he gathered a collection of images from his 1970 project into the book Texas Passing.