roseopt.gif (8507 bytes) Special Collections
The University of Texas
at Arlington Libraries

Vol. XV III* No. 1 * Spring 2004

Squire Haskins:High Flying Images
By Brenda S. McClurkin


Square Haskins, early in his photography career.
 

Lewis Benjamin "Squire" Haskins, Jr. (1913-1984) was widely considered among the premier aerial photographers in the Southwest. Born in Palestine, Texas, he and his family moved to the Dallas area in 1916. His father, the Rev. Lewis Benjamin "L. B." Haskins, Sr., helped establish the Mount Auburn, Greenville Avenue and Trinity Heights Christian churches, and later was pastor of Oak Cliff Christian Church. Squire Haskins acquired his nickname while a counselor at Camp Grady Spruce. His passions for photography and flying were garnered as a young man and lasted a lifetime. In the 1930s, he held auxiliary lights for the photographer making photogravure images published by The Dallas Morning News. During World War II, Haskins served as a flight instructor at an airbase in Bonham, and then went to work at The Dallas Morning News after the war.

Shortly after the war, Haskins combined his two passions, opening Squire Haskins Photography at 2014 Commerce Street, Dallas. The new studio quickly acquired a reputation for fast service and quality images. Haskins and his wife, Mildred, were partners in the enterprise he the photographer, she the office manager. Although their work included commercial, architectural, convention, and portrait photography, the main focus of the business was aerial images. Haskins flew by himself, piloting a specially designed Luscom aircraft. Juggling the controls and radios, he would search for his subject and raise the specially designed window to take his pictures. He continued to work in this manner until the pressures of communicating with air traffic controllers while photographing his subjects became too great.

In 1968, Squire and Mildred Haskins retired, and son L. B. "Ben" Haskins III, and his wife, Glenda, took over the company, now located at 2712 Live Oak, Dallas. Unlike his father, Ben used flight instructors to pilot his aircraft while he took his photographs. During their tenure at the helm of Squire Haskins Photography, Ben and Glenda Haskins continued the tradition of quality and service, offering all previous services except for portrait work. The couple retired in 2002, making the Haskins archives available to The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Special Collections. Squire Haskins Photography is still in business at the Live Oak address and currently specializes in architectural/real estate and aerial photography for Dallas and Tarrant County clients.


Explosive urban growth at Stemmons Freeway and Inwood in Dallas occurred in just a forty year period as evidenced in these pictures from the Squire Haskins Photograph Collection. The area in 1954 is pictured above, while the same site in 1994 is shown in the photograph below.

 

The Squire Haskins Photography Collection in Special Collections is comprised of over 223,000 negatives produced by the Dallas firm from 1947 through 1999. The Haskins negatives and prints document the explosive commercial, industrial and neighborhood growth of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There are some historic (pre-World War II) Dallas views, but the primary thrust of the collection is aerial, architectural, commercial, State Fair and convention assignments, including annual documentation of the downtown Dallas skyline. Perusal of the Haskins Photography Collection will be particularly helpful to those studying downtown, urban and suburban growth in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex as well as those seeking site specific images. The steady transformation of open prairie to cityscape documented by the Haskins Collection is breathtaking, especially when "before and after" images of the same locations over time are examined side by side. Although technically unprocessed, the Squire Haskins Collection is available for research and copy prints. Finding tools accompanying the collection provide access by client, subject, location, date, and Mapsco quadrant number.


Pedestrians, street cars and automobiles clog the intersection of Main Street and Akard in downtown Dallas, November 3, 1951.

 


A Studebaker truck motors across the Commerce Street Bridge. Mobile Oil's Pegasus dominates the Dallas skyline in the distance.

The Squire Haskins Photography Collection complements 40+ photograph collections housed in Special Collections comprising nearly 4 million negatives and prints. Among these collections are Fort Worth photographers W. D. Smith, Jack White, Cirrus Bonneau and Ana Beaulac; Breckenridge photographer Basil Clemons; and archives of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Fort Worth News-Tribune and the Arlington Citizen Journal.

For assistance with the Squire Haskins Photography Collection, contact Blanca Smith (besmith@uta.edu), Cathleen Spitzenberger (spitzenberger@uta.edu), or Brenda McClurkin (mcclurkin@uta.edu), or call (817) 272-3393.


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The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries
Phone: (817) 272-3393 * Fax: (817) 272-3360 * E-mail: Reference Desk

This page last update on Wednesday, April 14, 2004