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Houston History Research Center: HPL

Welcome to the Houston History Research Center at Julia Ideson Building



Houston Public Library Houston History Research Center at the Julia Ideson Building logo
Welcome to the Julia Ideson Building


Visit us at the Houston History Research Center where our goal is to link visitors from around the world to the storied history of this city. Our collections provide a wealth of knowledge about the history of Houston and the surrounding areas. Our staff is always ready to help researchers either in person or through email.


The mission of the Houston History Research Center (HHRC) is to locate, preserve, and make available to researchers the documentary evidence of Houston’s history.


It is the first History Research Center of the Houston Public Library and is the result of a two-year funded, cooperative project in 1974 by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project involved the University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Southern University, the Houston Public Library, and others. In 1976, the collections were handed over to the Houston Public Library, who placed them in the historic Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston.

We further our mission by providing reference services using our unique materials including the local history book collection, archival collections, photographs, architectural drawings, oral histories, and maps.
For Researchers

Man wearing a hat holding a camera
From the Collection

Research Guide
Find available online items faster using guide to access finding aids, print collections, databases, and recommended resources on Houston and Texas history!

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Digital Archives
Find select digital holdings of highly requested photographs, papers, and oral histories. Download collections and save image files for your personal or research use.

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View over 4 million images that highlight day-to-day activity in Houston and Texas, with coverage from the 1860s to the 1980s.

Documenting the Jazz community in Texas, this collection features photographs and oral histories with a variety of jazz musicians.

Original records offer a rich account of the Hispanic experience in Houston.

One of the largest architecture archives in the state, it features 125,000 drawings of buildings around Houston, highlighting the work of Houston architects and their designs.

Research With Us!
Check out our resources to help answer your research questions.


   ArchivesSpace helps you find personal and business papers related to your question.
   Digital Archives helps you find digital copies of some of our most popular materials.
   Library Catalog helps you find books and reference materials related to your question.
   The Photo Database helps you find photographs depicting your query.
   The Architecture Database helps you find drawings of Houston area buildings.

Ask us your questions when you’re not certain where to search next!
Friends of the Texas Room
The Friends of the Texas Room (FTxR) seeks to support the Houston Public Library’s Houston History Research Center (HHRC). Among their many educational programs and projects, the FTxR also confers the Julia Ideson Award. This award recognizes research projects that use the archival resources of the HHRC.
Events at History Research Centers

Interviewing the Living for Leads to the Past




Location Details


Contact Us
550 McKinney St. Houston, TX 77002 | 832-393-1662 | Submit Research Question