Ninalee Craig

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American Girl in Italy by Ruth Orkin, 1951

Ninalee Craig (née Allen; 6 November 1927, Indianapolis – 1 May 2018, Toronto)[1][2] was an American woman known for being the subject of a series of photographs by Ruth Orkin, the most notable of which is American Girl in Italy.


In 1951, Ninalee Craig went on a six-month tour of Europe. While in Florence, Italy, she met photographer Ruth Orkin and the two became friends. Orkin photographed Craig as she walked around Florence capturing images of her shopping at markets, flirting in cafés, viewing landmarks, and other travel experiences.[3] The most iconic of the photos is known as American Girl in Italy and shows Craig walking down a street being ogled by a group of men.[4]

Many interpret the photograph as one of harassment and chauvinism.[5] Craig said in 2014 "At no time was I unhappy or harassed in Europe"[6] and that "[the photograph is] not a symbol of harassment. It's a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!"[3] and "Italian men are very appreciative, and it's nice to be appreciated. I wasn't the least bit offended."[7]

Later life[edit]

After her trip, Craig returned to New York City and worked as a teacher and an ad writer. She was married to an Italian and lived with him in Milan, but later divorced. After returning to New York, she met a Canadian man, married him, and moved to Toronto. She had a large extended family, including 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.[3]


Craig died on May 1, 2018, at the age of 90.[8]


  1. ^ Silverman, Ellie (3 May 2018). "Ninalee Allen Craig, subject of iconic 'American Girl in Italy' photos, dies at 90". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Addio all' "American Girl" che viaggiava sola in Italia facendo voltare tutti". 4 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "At 83, subject of 'American Girl in Italy' photo speaks out". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  4. ^ "PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW;Beyond That Single, Famous Picture". 2 June 1995. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  5. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes - Women Who Look You Straight In the Eye". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. ^ "An Image of Innocence Abroad". Smithsonian. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  7. ^ "An American Girl In Italy". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  8. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]