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L.K. Hughes photograph collection

Call Number: RH PH 506


The Hughes photographs are those of the L.K. Hughes Photography business run by Leon and Rosie Hughes. They illustrate everyday life in Wichita, Kansas from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s.


  • Creation: 1944 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of L. K. Hughes

Born in 1913 in Arkansas, Leon K. Hughes moved to Wichita, Kansas when he was five. By the 1940s, Hughes worked in the Wichita aircraft plants. In 1946, he married Rosie E. Hughes, who was born in 1921 in Oklahoma and moved to Wichita in 1943. She also worked in the city's aircraft plants. Leon Hughes was a self-taught photographer who operated L.K. Hughes Photography out of their 11th and Wabash home; he later taught Mrs. Hughes who then joined the business. From the dining room in their home on the 1800 block of Hydraulic Street to the garage at their 13th and Spruce home, the Hughes' photography studio was a mainstay of the city's African American community. Their clientele included both African Americans and whites. The couple retired from the photography business in 1976.

Leon K. Hughes died in 1978. He had two children: a daughter, Norma Jean, and a son named Aloyous.


10.5 Linear Feet (21 document cases + 1 oversize box, 2 DVDs) : Approximately 2785 photographs ; All photographs measure 11x14" or smaller.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Hughes photographs date from 1944, 1948-1949, 1953-1955, and 1961-1976 and are arranged in three series: Events, People, and Nonhuman Subjects. Within Events are five subseries: Birthdays, Funerals, Graduations, Weddings, and Wedding Anniversaries. Within People are eight subseries: Children, Families, Groups, Men, Men and Women, Organizations, Performers, and Women. The majority of these have further subsections, which are noted in the series list below. Within Nonhuman Subjects are two subseries: Buildings and Miscellaneous.

Where possible, identification has been given from captions or more recently provided information. Unidentified photographs have been described in-depth on their housing. Typed captions, unattached upon the collection's receipt, have been included in their own folder at the end of the collection. Where only partial identification is available, a question mark has been included within the labeling (e.g. "? Smith"). Where multiple, identified prints of the same size are housed in one folder, subjects of individual prints are noted in the Collection Description below.

Although the majority of the images were grouped during the collection's processing, the Performers subseries were left in their original grouping of the same name. Where a subject appears in photographs across multiple categories, an effort has been made to provide cross reference information; this information is included below as "See also" notes.

Arrangement is chiefly alphabetical by name or, if name is unavailable, by subject; where arrangement is by names, the last name is used where possible. Wedding photographs are arranged alphabetically by the husband's last name unless unavailable, at which point the wife's last name is used. For those wedding photographs with the place identification of "Tabunacular Church", this spelling provided in the Collection Description reflects that written on the images themselves.

Within the Clubs sub-subseries are a number of largely unidentified debutante photographs. While some images appear to belong to the same year, due to a lack of identification they had to be housed alphabetically; however, those images that appear to belong to the same year have been given a group number, which is indicated in the Collection Description below.

Photograph size given is in inches. Unless noted with a "b/w" (to indicate black and white), images are in color. The term "image" has been used to indicate photographs with differing subjects (e.g. 2 images include a photo of subject A and one of subject B). The term "copies" has been used to indicate multiple prints of the same image. Where possible, those photographs taken by Rosie Hughes are indicated in the Collection Description.

Two oversize (11x14") images are housed at RH PH 506(f). Two DVDs are located at RH Video 27.

Series List

The Hughes photographs date from 1944, 1948-1949, 1953-1955, and 1961-1976 and are arranged in three series, fifteen subseries, and sixteen sub-subseries (in parentheses following their subseries).

Events, 1962-1976
Subseries: Birthdays, Funerals, Graduations, Weddings, and Wedding Anniversaries.
People, 1944, 1948-1949, 1953-1955, 1961, 1964-1965, 1967-1969, 1973, 1975
Subseries & Sub-subseries: Children (incs.: Babies, Boys, Boys and Girls, Girls, and Groups), Families (incs.: Men with Children and Women with Children), Groups, Men (incs. Groups), Men and Women, Organizations (incs.: Church-related, Clubs, Greeks, Masons/Shriners/Etc., Scouting, and Sporting), Performers, and Women (Crown winners, Groups, Nursing).
Nonhuman Subjects, 1953, 1956, 1961, undated
Subseries: Buildings and Miscellaneous.

Physical Location

RH PH 506

Physical Location

RH PH 506 (f)

Physical Location

RH Video 27

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Rosie E. Hughes, 2009.

Related Materials

Hughes photographs found in other Kenneth Spencer Research Library collections:

RH MS-P 485 box 1, folder 14
Alyce Christopher-Ballard papers
RH MS-P 558 box 1, folders 8-10
Chester I. Lewis papers
RH MS-P 705 box 1, folders 47-51 and box 6, folders 6, 11, 13-16, 18, 26-28
Afro-American Clubwomen project records
RH MS-P 781 box 1, folder 5
Mattie A. White Jamison papers
RH MS-P 1117 box 1, folder 44
Thomas A. Williams family papers
Guide to the Hughes Photograph Collection
L.K. Hughes photograph collection
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mbw, 2010. Finding aid revised by eear, 2015; ew, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this Collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
L.K. Hughes photograph collection, Kansas Collection, RH PH 506, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States