Beals, Jessie Tarbox.Alternative names
Jessie Tarbox Beals, 1870-1942, photographer and photojournalist, acquired her first camera in 1888 and photographed students, friends, and family groups. She was an itinerant photographer (1900-1901), then joined the Buffalo Inquirer and Courier as a staff photographer. She was a photographer at the St. Louis Exposition, 1904, and covered President Roosevelt's trip to Texas in 1905. Later that year she opened a studio in N.Y.C. She was a magazine photographer for Vogue, Town and Country, Ladies' Home Journal, Country Life in America, and Harper's Bazaar, and specialized in portraiture, animals, houses and gardens, and cityscapes. For biographical information, see Alexander Alland, Sr., Jessie Tarbox Beals, First Woman Photographer (1978).
From the description of Photographs, 1896-1941 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007544
News photographer. Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942) was hired by the Buffalo Inquirer and the Courier in 1902, and became one of the first women news photographers. After leaving Buffalo in about 1904, her freelance work appeared in almost every major newspaper and magazine and her journalistic adventures were described in many articles. For further information, see Alexander Alland's book, Jessie Tarbox Beals: First Woman News Photographer. N.Y.: Camera/Graphic Press, 1978.
From the description of Photographs of houses and gardens, 1925-1939 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 188580854
Jessie Tarbox Beals, 1870-1942: photographer and photojournalist. Beals acquired her first camera in 1888 and photographed students, friends and family groups. In 1900-1901, she travelled as an itinerant photographer with her husband, Alfred Tennyson Beals, then joined the Buffalo Inquirer and Courier as a staff photographer. She was a photographer at the St. Louis Exposition, 1904, and covered President Roosevelt's trip to Texas in 1905. Later that year she opened a studio in N.Y.C. She was a magazine photographer for Vogue, Town and Country, Ladies' Home Journal, Country Life in America, and Harper's Bazaar, and specialized in portraiture, animals, houses and gardens, and cityscapes.
From the description of Papers, 1886-1979 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232006711
Jessie Richmond Tarbox Beals, photographer and photojournalist, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on December 23, 1870, the daughter of Marie Antoinette (Bassett) (1834-1899) and John Nathaniel Tarbox (1831-1899). She had three older siblings, Paul Walter Tarbox (1856-1925), Grace Bassett Tarbox (1861-1907), and Edward Bassett Tarbox.
John and Marie Tarbox were both born in New England. They married in 1853 and moved to Hamilton in the 1860s, where John Tarbox was involved in the invention and manufacture of sewing machines. John Tarbox was quite successful and the family lived in a large house until 1877, when the sewing machine business collapsed. For a time, John Tarbox worked for a glass manufacturer, but that too failed. The family had to sell their house and all its furnishings. When Jessie was 14, she enrolled in the Collegiate Institute of Ontario, and received a teaching certificate in 1887. The next year, she found a teaching position in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, where her brother Paul lived. Soon Marie Tarbox moved to Williamsburg; with a more familiar and stable home life, Jessie took part in youthful activities of the day: temperance societies, dances, concerts, elocution contests, etc.
Jessie acquired her first camera in 1888 (by selling a subscription to Youth's Companion magazine) and began to photograph students, friends, and family groups throughout Western Massachusetts. In 1893 she traveled to Chicago, where her sister Grace was studying to be a missionary, to see the World's Columbian Exposition; she took pictures of the buildings and exhibits, as well as other visitors she met in the women's dormitory. That same year she began another teaching job in the larger town of Greenfield, Massachusetts. It was there she met Alfred Tennyson Beals; they married in 1897.
Grace Tarbox, after attending several Bible Institutes and undergoing missionary training, sailed for Venezuela in 1896. She lived there, primarily in Caracas, until her death in 1907. Edward Tarbox and his wife Maude also became missionaries; they served in Ecuador beginning in 1898. Both John and Marie Tarbox died within several months of each other in 1899.
Beginning in 1900, Jessie and Alfred traveled the East Coast, attempting to make their living as itinerant photographers, with Alfred assisting Jessie and mainly working in makeshift darkrooms. Their first child was born in March 1902, but died several hours after birth. Some months after that, Jessie was hired as a staff photographer by the Buffalo Inquirer and Courier . She covered news events throughout the city, traveled to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 (where she also sold photographs to other newspapers), and photographed President Theodore Roosevelt's trip to Texas for a "Rough Rider's reunion" in 1905.
In 1905 the Beals moved to New York City, where they set up a photography studio together. Jessie photographed city scenes, took commissioned portraits of artists, writers, and actors, and became part of the Greenwich Village bohemian culture. She continued to travel to other cities, both on assignment, and just to photograph. The Beals's marriage began to be strained; Alfred spent more time on his lifelong interest in botany and less assisting Jessie on her photographic junkets. On June 8, 1911, Nanette Tarbox Beals was born (ostensibly fathered by another man). Jessie and Alfred separated in 1917 and divorced in 1923, but both doted on Nanette.
Nanette was often sick as a child, and spent time in hospitals and at country boarding schools. This allowed her mother continued freedom to travel and photograph. Jessie continued to photograph interesting haunts and denizens of Greenwich Village, and began to photograph more gardens, both in and outside of New York City. She also turned her hand seriously to poetry, self-publishing Songs of a Wanderer, a volume illustrated with her photographs, in 1928.
As she aged, and as it became harder for her to find adequate work, Jessie moved frequently, usually accompanied by her daughter. She went to Santa Barbara and Hollywood, California, in 1928, to Chicago, Illinois, in 1933, and then back to New York City, where she died at Bellevue Hospital on May 30, 1942. Her later work was often published in Vogue, Town and Country, Ladies' Home Journal, Country Life in America, and Harper's Bazaar ; during her career she photographed a broad range of subjects including portraits, immigrant city dwellers, cityscapes, and houses and gardens.
Nanette Beals married Henry Bowen Brainerd in New York City on November 12, 1943; they later settled in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Throughout her life she remained committed to publicizing her mother's work and life story, arranging for posthumous exhibitions and publications.
From the guide to the Papers of Jessie Tarbox Beals, (inclusive), (bulk), 1866-1989, 1880-1942, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Saint Louis (Mo.)|
|Cape Cod (Mass.)|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)|
|Santa Barbara (Calif.)|
|Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)|
|New York (State)--New York|
|Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.)|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|New Orleans (La.)|
|African Americans--Social conditions|
|Women-owned business enterprises|
|Historical drama--Pictorial Works|
|Photography of cats|
|Interior decoration--Pictorial works|
|Children--Social life and customs|
|Photography of children|
|Architecture, Domestic--Pictorial works|
|Photography of families|
|Photography of men|
|Photography of women|