Crowd Scene on Elm Street, 1925. From the Frank Rogers Collection, Dallas Public Library.

Dallas History

Tales From the Dallas History Archives: The Crowds In Our Past, From Bonnie Parker to JFK

We haven't been able to gather. So let's take a trip back through the Dallas Public Library's archive to see history play out in the crowds of Dallas generations ago.

This year will be remembered. With the COVID-19 pandemic, protests against systemic racism, and a presidential election with the highest voter turnout in United States history, 2020 is clearly historic.

As I find myself looking through archival collections at the Dallas Public Library through the lens of social distancing and this year’s events, many from our past stand out.

The crowd photos depicted in the following gallery are from the Dallas Public Library’s Dallas History and Archives Collection and are available through the library’s online catalog. Plenty seem unusual in these days of isolation, like the bank robber Bonnie Parker’s funeral and the crowd surrounding the subsequent 1935 “harboring trial” of her family and friends.

Also depicted are photos of Dallas segregation in travel and State Fair gatherings, images of horse-drawn transportation and Love Field aviation generations ago, as well as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson visits in Dallas. As this month is the anniversary of the JFK assassination, those images have an additional timely significance.  These are just some of the unique materials found in the archival collections of Dallas Public Library. Learn more by searching online in the catalog. Go to “Advanced” and use the “Limit By” option to select “Digital Archive” then type in your topic.

Contact Dallas History & Archives Division at Dallas Public Library at (214) 670-1435 or email [email protected] with questions about the many fascinating photographic resources available.


Brandon Murray, a librarian and archivist in the Dallas Public Library’s Dallas History & Archives Division, writes about North Texas history for D Magazine. See more of this series here. 

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