Calvin Littlejohn (1909-1993) was born in Arkansas but moved to the Fort Worth Area in the 1930s and established his commercial photography studio there in 1934. He continued his practice for nearly six decades, initially focusing on the steady work to be found in documenting families, business establishments, churches, schools, and the various cultural organizations supporting the surrounding African-American community. World War II interrupted his photographic work, as he served as an Army private at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, but upon his return Littlejohn began expanding his scope to include capturing recreation hall parties, speaking engagements, visiting celebrities, and other everyday events which produced more candid photographs than his studio portrait work, which he still maintained.
Though Littlejohn spent time as an accomplished gardener, civic developer (in his attempts to revitalize Fort Worth’s Evans Avenue business district), publisher, and inventor, the demands of his successful photography studio, as well as occasional freelance photography for newspapers like the Fort Worth Mind, Lake Como Monitor, La Vida News, the Fort Worth Press, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, occupied most of his time. Littlejohn’s work provides a comprehensive portrait of the African-American experience in Fort Worth and Tarrant County during segregation and beyond.
From the guide to the Calvin Littlejohn Photographic Archive AR 2000-229, 2001-237, 2004-055 ., ca. 1948-1993, (University of Texas at Austin, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History)