UTSA Libraries Special Collections receives Brewster Photograph Collection
Realtor Robert A. Coker recently donated the photograph collection of life-long San Antonio resident Olive Nesbitt Brewster, daughter of Charles H. Brewster (1886-1955) and Olive Nesbitt Brewster (1888-1986). The collection (MS 458) contains studio portraits and snapshots of the Nesbitt and Brewster families, dating from the 1880s to the 1980s. Ms. Brewster had moved to a nursing home and the photographs were among the items left behind when the house was placed on the market. Many people would have discarded them. But Mr. Coker realized the documentary value of the collection and placed them with us so that researchers could benefit from them.
Among the late 19th century portraits in the collection are the work of San Antonio commercial photographers David P. Barr, Asa A. Brack, and Alonzo N. Callaway. But of greater interest to cultural historians are the Kodak snapshots taken by Charles and Olive Brewster and their friends, beginning around 1910. They show outings to parks in San Antonio and nearby towns. The couple’s photos record the period of their courtship and early years of their marriage, including numerous photographs of their first child, Charles Jr., at home and on family excursions. Continuing the custom of carrying a camera, the couple’s daughter, also named Olive Nesbitt Brewster, took pictures of her recreational activities. Collectively, these images help us understand the way previous generations spent their leisure time in South Central Texas.
These are a few of the photographs from the Brewster family albums.
Olive Nesbitt (right) and a friend on a ride in Electric Park, West Evergreen Street at San Pedro Creek, San Antonio, circa 1910. (MS458: 115-0360)