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Houston on the Move

Houston on the Move
A Photographic History

Presenting over two hundred previously unpublished images from the city’s largest and most comprehensive photographic archive, this volume chronicles Houston’s transformation into a city of international importance.

Series: Focus on American History, Don Carleton series editor

October 2016
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264 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 8.5 x 11 | 216 color photos |

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Houston completely transformed itself during the twentieth century, burgeoning from a regional hub into a world-class international powerhouse. This remarkable metamorphosis is captured in the Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archive, an unparalleled visual record of Houston life from the 1930s to the early 1990s. Founded by the commercial photographer Bob Bailey in 1929, the Bailey Studios produced more than 500,000 photographs and fifty-two 16 mm films, making its archive the largest and most comprehensive collection of images ever taken in and around Houston. The Bob Bailey Studios Archive is now owned by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Houston on the Move presents over two hundred of the Bailey archive’s most memorable and important photographs with extended captions that detail the photos’ subjects and the reasons for their significance. These images, most never before published, document everything from key events in Houston’s modern history—World War II; the Texas City Disaster; the building of the Astrodome; and the development of the Ship Channel, Medical Center, and Johnson Space Center—to nostalgic scenes of daily life. Bob Bailey’s expertly composed photographs reveal a great city in the making: a downtown striving to be the best, biggest, and tallest; birthday parties, snow days, celebrations, and rodeos; opulent department stores; Hollywood stars and political leaders; rapid industrial and commercial growth; and the inexorable march of the suburbs. An irresistible “remember that?” book for long-time Houstonians, Houston on the Move will also be an essential reference for historians, photographers, designers, and city planners.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Plates
    • 1930–1945: A City Comes of Age
    • 1945–1960: Postwar Suburbanization and Expansion
    • 1960–1991: City of the Future
  • Bibliography
  • Index

STEVEN R. STROMCathedral City, CaliforniaA former director and architectural archivist at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Strom is the author of the award-winning book Houston Lost and Unbuilt.


“A masterfully crafted, organized, and executed book that makes an extremely important contribution to photographic history and to Houston’s history. Bob Bailey did for Houston what nationally prominent photographers, including Berenice Abbot, Charles Sheeler, and Esther Bubley, did by documenting the growth of other American cities and America’s twentieth-century advances in technology and industry. The photographs of the Bailey Collection superbly show Houston’s meteoric rise to be arguably America’s premier twentieth-century city.”
Michael Botson, Houston Community College, and author of Labor, Civil Rights, and the Hughes Tool Company

“This book enriches many fields: architecture, interior design, retail design, urban development, social history. It will be a great resource for photographers, designers, developers, retailers, educators, and students of cities and urban growth. To those of us interested in Houston history, it is invaluable.”
Barry Moore, Founder of the Workshop for Historic Architecture at the University of Houston and past president of the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects and of Preservation Houston