The Lady Behind the Lens and Her Photos of Lost Northern Neck Places


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Leslie Rennolds - Assistant Director:

Wonderful peek through the reversed lens of time to photographs taken in and around the Northern Neck by (gasp) a woman! Menokin makes a cameo appearance in this post, but there is a link to all of Frances Benjamin Johnston’s photographs on the Library of Congress website. Search for “Menokin” there to see some beautiful interior images.

Originally posted on Our History, Our Stories:

By Frank Delano

(With many thanks to Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor of the Stafford County Historical Society and Elizabeth Lee of the King George Historical Society for their help in identifying some of these photos.)

Forget the gender, Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) was, simply, a fabulous photographer.

When she was little, George Eastman gave her one of his newfangled little cameras that anybody could snap and millions did.

Her long career took her to Paris, the White House, New York City, most of the U.S. and much of the world. At first, she photographed the famous and the rich with her big view camera and its eight-by-ten-inch negatives.

But in 1928, she chanced upon the old houses of Fredericksburg and mounted an exhibit in New York of more than 200 photographs.  From then on, she devoted her career to capturing architecture throughout the country and, especially, in the South.

In the…

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