Curated History: Russell Lee

In researching East Texas history, one of my favorite and most valuable discoveries has been the work of photographer Russell Lee. He took iconic photos of Depression-era Lufkin, along with meaningful captures of elsewhere in the East Texas region and across Texas. I have used one of his photos, Railroad Gang in my artwork, and have more stacked up to use in the future. Many of his works are in the public domain, which is a gift for artists, writers and other creators who are inspired by it.

More information on the life and work of Russell Lee can be found in The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos, the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas – Austin, and the Library of Congress. Some of my favorite Russell Lee Texas photos are below. They were found in the Library of Congress, and are in the Public Domain.


After Dinner Coffee, Lufkin.

Blacksmith Heating Iron in Forge, Southern Paper Mill construction shed, Lufkin, Texas.

East Texas farm owner rolling up old barbed wire near Harleton, Texas.
Bank corner on main street. San Augustine, Texas

County superintendent of schools and her assistant. San Augustine, Texas

My weekly Curated History feature shares a selection of interesting research finds, photos and other ephemera. My main focus is on Texas history, but historic finds from other places might show up from time to time!