Thursday June 16, 2005
By Dawna Curler
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Women have many career choices today; but in the Victorian era, schoolteacher, seamstress, milliner, nurse, and shopkeeper were among the few socially acceptable female occupations. Photography also fell within this category. In the late19th and early 20th centuries there was a surprising number of women photographers working in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
As early as 1850, Julia Shannon of San Francisco advertised "Daguerreotypes (dah-GEHR-o-types) taken by a Lady," and in the mining town of Yreka, California, A.M. Tidwell charged a dollar for ambrotypes in 1864.
In Oregon, during the 1880s and '90s, Ashland, Medford, Central Point and Myrtle Creek all had photography businesses owned and operated by women. Grants Pass, Oakland and Lakeview had women photographers in the early 1900s. Maud Baldwin of Klamath Falls, specialized in children's portraits, but took many landscapes
and outdoor photographs of the Klamath Basin as well.
Perhaps most interesting of all was Emma Freeman, a Bohemian artist in rural Humboldt County, California. She was both a photojournalist and artistic photographer. Her most distinctive and poetic photographs include romanticized images of Native Americans idyllically posed.
These early women photographers have each left us with a stronger visual understanding of the past while they helped prepare the path for working women of today.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Palmquist, Peter. "Camera Fiends and Kodak Girls in Southern Oregon," Southern Oregon Heritage Today, September 2000, Vol. 2, No. 9, pp. 8-14; Drew, Harry. "Maud Baldwin - Photographer." Klamath County Research Paper No.10, Klamath County Museum, 1980; Palmquist, Peter. "Essays," Women in Photography Archives, Women Artists of the American West website. http://www.sla.purdue.edu/WAAW/Palmquist/Essays.htm