Eminent Women (1884): Twelve Women And The Photograph They Never Took

Let’s face it—we’re all guilty of photographic manipulation. How many times have you changed the filter on a selfie, drawn on some smiley faces, or made a friend’s face look grotesque just for fun? These days, with a multitude of photo editing apps, we can make almost anything happen in the pictures we take. In the 19th century, way before Photoshop, photographers also manipulated images —although their techniques were much more labor-intensive than just pressing a few buttons. Eminent Women is one such photograph. It features twelve women writers arranged in a group, but they never sat down together. Some of them likely never even met each other. That this group portrait was created speaks to the fame each woman enjoyed at the time.

By Diana Myers, intern working on her senior project for graduation from the J.R. Masterman High School, Spring 2017


Eminent Women Online Exhibition

Diana Myers’s blog post on how the photograph was created.

For all twelve biographies plus the sources we used, click here for the pdf.