Catharine Weed Barnes

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Catharine Weed Barnes, photographed by Edward S. Sterry (1890)

Catharine Weed Barnes (1851–1913) was an early American photographer who later lived in England. She was a strong supporter of women photographers.[1]


Born in Albany, New York, she was brought up by her well-to-do parents William and Emily Weed Barnes (daughter of the politician Thurlow Weed[2]). She attended Vassar College but her time was cut short by familial obligations.[3] Her interest in photography began in St Petersburg, Russia, where she travelled with her parents in 1886. In 1890, she worked as an editor for the American Amateur Photographer magazine, contributing a column title "Women's Work",[4] and joined several associations which were usually reserved for men, including the National Photographers' Association of America and The Camera Club of New York.[5]

In 1892, she travelled to Britain to address the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom in Edinburgh. In London, she met Henry Snowden Ward, an editor of photography journals, who soon became her husband. She took up editorial work for the journal The Photogram and she illustrated her husband's book Shakespeare's Town and Times with photographs she had taken.[5][6] Barnes continued to give support to women in photography, insisting their work should be judged according to the same criteria as those applied to men.[7] She also illustrated her husband's book The Real Dickens Land which she and her husband promoted on a tour of the United States in 1899.[5][8]

Catharine Weed Barnes died in Hadlow, England on 31 July 1913.[5]


  1. ^ Robert Leggat, "Women Pioneers of Photography", Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  2. ^  Owen, William Benjamin (1912). "Ward, Henry Snowden". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 591. 
  3. ^ A History of Women Photographers, Naomi Rosenblum, 1994.
  4. ^ Johnson, William (1999). A History of Photography. Hohenzollerning 53, D-50672 Koln: Taschen GmbH. p. 380. ISBN 978-3-8228-4777-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Catharine Weed Barnes Ward", Historic Camera. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  6. ^ Ward, Henry Snowden; Ward, Catherine Weed (1896). Shakespeare's Town and Times. S. Low. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Catharine Weed Barnes, "Photography from a Woman's Standpoint" address to the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York, 27 December 1889. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  8. ^ Ward, H. Snowden; Ward, Catharine Weed Barnes (1904). The Real Dickens Land with an Outline of Dickens's Life. Chapman and Hall. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 

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