Beals, Jessie Tarbox.

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Beals, Jessie Tarbox, 1870-1942. Jessie Tarbox Beals : Artist File. International Center of Photography
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox,. Stout family photographs, ca. 1840-1966. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Photographs of houses and gardens, 1925-1939 (bulk). Harvard University, Frances Loeb Library
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1926. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf People's Institute (New York, N.Y.). People's Institute records, 1883-1933, bulk (1897-1927). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. New York State Agricultural Experiment Station records, 1859-2008. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Byrdcliffe (Art colony). Papers, ca.1869-2000. Winterthur Library
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Photographs, 1896-1941 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox,. Swords and plowshares historic pageant photograph collection [graphic] Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1972-1989 Radcliffe College Archives, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. [Scrapbook of newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, flier, and a letter relating to the marches in New York City in support of women's suffrage, and the women's suffrage movement in the United States] : scrapbook, 1912. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Papers of Jessie Tarbox Beals, (inclusive), (bulk), 1866-1989, 1880-1942 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Dennett, Mary Ware, 1872-1947. Papers: Series II, 1894-1948 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Community Service Society. Archives, 1842-1995. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Papers, 1886-1979 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Trowbridge and Beals collection, ca. 1923-1936 Ball State University, College of Architecture and Planning
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, Judith, Dame, 1898-1992. person
associatedWith Auslander, Joseph, 1897-1965. person
associatedWith Beals, Alfred. person
associatedWith Beals, Jessie Tarbox, 1870-1942. person
associatedWith Belmont, August, 1813-1890. person
associatedWith Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente, 1867-1928. person
associatedWith Booth, Edwin, 1833-1893. person
associatedWith Borglum, Gutzon, 1867-1941. person
associatedWith Boylan, Grace Duffie, 1861?-1935. person
associatedWith Brainerd, Nanette Beals, 1911- person
associatedWith Bryan, Isabelle. person
associatedWith Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925. person
associatedWith Burroughs, John, 1837-1921. person
associatedWith Byrdcliffe (Art colony). corporateBody
associatedWith Campbell, Joseph, 1879-1944. person
associatedWith Clarke, Caspar Purdon, 1846-1911. person
associatedWith Coman, Charlotte Buell, 1833-1924. person
associatedWith Community Service Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Crothers, Rachel, 1878-1958. person
associatedWith Currier & Ives corporateBody
associatedWith Dennett, Mary Ware, 1872-1947. person
correspondedWith Duffield, Anne person
associatedWith Duveneck, Frank, 1848-1919. person
associatedWith Eberle, Abastenia St. Leger, 1878- person
associatedWith Federal Writers' Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Fokine, Michel, 1880-1942. person
associatedWith Fokine, Vera. person
associatedWith Francis, David Rowland, 1850-1927. person
associatedWith Geddes, Norman Bel, 1893-1958. person
associatedWith Goodwin, Grace Duffield, 1869-? person
associatedWith Griffin, Lillian Barnes. person
associatedWith Hassam, Childe, 1859-1935. person
associatedWith Hayakawa, Sesshū, 1889-1973. person
associatedWith Herrick, Myron T. (Myron Timothy), 1854-1929. person
associatedWith Herter, Albert, 1871- person
associatedWith Hibbard, C. J., person
associatedWith Hobbes, John Oliver, 1867-1906. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. person
associatedWith Hoover, Lou Henry, 1874-1944. person
associatedWith Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920. person
associatedWith Hurst, Fannie, 1889-1968. person
associatedWith Illington, Margaret, 1881-1934. person
associatedWith Jefferson, Joseph, 1869-1919. person
associatedWith Kate Douglas Wiggin person
associatedWith King, Francis, Mrs., 1863-1948. person
associatedWith La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947. person
correspondedWith League of American Pen Women corporateBody
associatedWith Lie, Jonas, 1880-1940. person
associatedWith Lincoln, Joseph Crosby, 1870-1944. person
associatedWith Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 : Saint Louis, Mo.) corporateBody
associatedWith MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, N.H.) corporateBody
associatedWith MacDowell, Marian, 1857-1956. person
correspondedWith Matina Horner person
associatedWith Mayhew, Ralph. person
associatedWith Minneapolis Institute of Arts corporateBody
associatedWith National League of American Pen Women. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Neill, Rose Cecil, 1874-1944. person
associatedWith Pen and Brush Club (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pendleton, Isabelle. person
associatedWith People's Institute (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Post, Emily, 1873-1960. person
associatedWith Potter, Grace. person
associatedWith Powys, John Cowper, 1872-1963. person
associatedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920. person
associatedWith Rippin, Jane Parker Deeter, 1882-1953. person
associatedWith Rives, Amélie, 1863-1945. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 person
associatedWith Ross, Ishbel, 1897-1975. person
associatedWith Seton-Thompson, Grace Gallatin. person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968. person
associatedWith Smith, Alfred Emanuel, 1873-1944. person
associatedWith Smith, Frances Grace, b. 1871 person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. person
correspondedWith Tarbell, Ida person
associatedWith Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva), 1857-1944. person
associatedWith Tarkington, Booth, 1869-1946. person
associatedWith Teasdale, Sara, 1884-1933. person
associatedWith Terhune, Albert Payson, 1872-1942. person
correspondedWith Theodore Roosevelt person
associatedWith Tom Thumb person
associatedWith Troubetzkoy, Pierre, 1864-1936. person
associatedWith Twain, Mark, 1835-1910. person
associatedWith United States. Army. Volunteer Cavalry, 1st. corporateBody
associatedWith Urner, Mabel Herbert, 1881-1957. person
associatedWith Walker, Mary Edwards, 1832-1919. person
associatedWith Wheeler, Candace, 1827-1923. person
associatedWith Wiggam, Albert Edward, 1875?-1957. person
associatedWith Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923. person
associatedWith Winter, Alice Ames, 1865-1944. person
associatedWith Woodin, William H. (William Hartman), 1868-1934. person
associatedWith World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Saint Louis (Mo.)
United States
Cape Cod (Mass.)
Boston (Mass.)
New York (N.Y.)
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)
Chicago (Ill.)
Santa Barbara (Calif.)
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State)--New York
Louisiana--New Orleans
Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.)
United States
Washington (D.C.)
New Orleans (La.)
Actors--Pictorial works
Domestic animals
African Americans--Social conditions
Women-owned business enterprises
African Americans--Children
Theater--Pictorial works
Photography--Business methods
World history
Historical drama--Pictorial Works
Pageants--Pictorial works
Photography of cats
Interior decoration--Pictorial works
Children--Social life and customs
Architectural photography
Actresses--Pictorial works
Photography of children
Architecture, Domestic--Pictorial works
Photography of families
Photography of men
Gardens--Pictorial works
Photography of women
Interior decorators


Birth 1870



Ark ID: w6d21xs3

SNAC ID: 64022166