Friday, May 5, 2017

Frances Benjamin Johnston having tea

After realizing I'd let a few weeks go by without checking the Library of Congress website for new tea images, I was intrigued to see that a new collection has been added, the work of Frances Benjamin Johnston, who was described as one of the first American women to gain prominence as a photographer. According to the Library of Congress website, "Trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, she studied photography upon her return to Washington, D.C., in the mid-1880s and opened a professional studio circa 1890. Her family's social position gave Johnston access to the First Family and leading Washington political figures and launched her career as a photojournalist and portrait photographer. Johnston turned to garden and estate photography in 1910s."

And lo and behold, I came across this photo titled:

[Frances Benjamin Johnston, full lgth., seated, having tea with 2 other people]

So ... is Frances the woman in the middle or the woman on the right? There's no date or other information recorded, so I was left to puzzle over this.

Then I came across another photo in which it was much easier to identify Frances. The title is:

[Frances Benjamin Johnston having tea with Elbert Hubbard (far right) and and lecture manager James Burton Pond (center) at her studio in Washington, D.C.]

So now I'm thinking Frances was the woman at right in the first photo. Do you agree? At any rate, I greatly enjoyed flipping through her collection of photos on the Library of Congress website, and you can find it here.


  1. I think you are correct, and I love Frances' hairstyle! Very interesting pictures indeed.

  2. These are great photos! I also concur. After looking at the hairstyle and color, I believe Frances is on the right.

  3. That makes three of us who agree. What great photos and interesting settings.

  4. How totally fascinating! What a nice find.


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