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A. C. Teal
Date: American, 1891 - 1956
Arthur Chester TealBiography:

Arthur Chester (A. C.) Teal was born in Crockett, Texas, around 1891. He began his career as an itinerant photographer. While working in Waco, Texas, he dated a woman named Elnora. She learned photography from Teal. They married and sometime around the end of World War I they moved to Houston. In 1919, they opened a successful photography studio in Houston that they ran for over forty years. The couple later operated a second studio in San Antonio. The Teals started a photography school in 1942 called Teal’s School of Photography, in which they trained other Texas African American photographers, such as Elnora Williams Frazier, Benny A. Joseph, and S. Juanita Williams. Regarding the first graduating class of the school, the Houston Informer printed the following:

Last Friday night, the Teal studio, photographers for this sheet, came through with its first graduating class in photography, at the Emancipation clubhouse. The affair was in the form of a banquet, and pretty girl graduates, like pictures, and handsome young esquires made up the class. Among the graduates were Rosetta Alle, Jessie Brooks, Jennie Crawford, Eva Darrett, Joseph Garner, Tyler Hodges, Willie Manos, George Marsha, Gertrude Mayfield, Joseph Mosely, Cathrine Palmer, L. K. Rodgers, Dorothy Solomon, Edna Tarver, James Varner, Elnora Williams, Selina Williams and Tebertha Williams. Music was furnished by Will Henry Bennett and his bevy of dames from Prairie View college . . . need I say more about the music. Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Teal and Joseph Gathings compose the faculty of the school. The little invite carried a miniature photo of the graduates and the faculty. Hats off to the Teals for this class, and they have invaded a field where there is a dire need of workers and plenty of space to work. A capacity house greeted these youngsters.
In the 1940s, Teal donated $11,000 to the Houston Junior College for Negroes (later renamed Texas Southern University). He died on November 13, 1956. After his death, Elnora continued to run the photography school for at least ten years. Aside from the few A. C. Teal photographs contained in the TAAP Archive, photographs made by the Teals are located at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in Houston, Texas.

“Teal Studio Steps Out,” Houston Informer, n. d.
Alan B. Govenar, Portraits of Community: African American Photography in Texas (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996), 154–56, 262; Bernadette Pruitt, The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900–1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013), 211; Kendall Curlee, “Teal Portrait Studio,”
Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed June 5, 2015.