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Jessie Tarbox Beals (Dec. 23, 1870-May 30, 1942) was an American photographer, the first published female photojournalist in the US and the first female night photographer. She is best known for her freelance news photographs, particularly of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and portraits of places such as Bohemian Greenwich Village. Her trademarks were her self-described “ability to hustle” and her tenacity in overcoming gender barriers in her profession.
Born Jessie Richmond Tarbox in Hamilton, Ontario, the youngest child of John Nathaniel Tarbox and Marie Antoinette Bassett. John Tarbox was a sewing machine manufacturer, and his partnership with the largest sewing machine company in Canada made the Tarbox family wealthy. When Beals was 7, however, her father lost all of his savings in a bad investment and began drinking heavily. He eventually left home at the insistence of Beals’s mother, who then embroidered and sold some of the family’s belongings to keep the family income going.
Beals was a “bright and precocious child” and did well in school. At 14 she was admitted to the Collegiate Institute of Ontario, and at 17 received her teaching certificate. Beals began teaching at a one-room schoolhouse in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, where her brother Paul was also living at the time.
Around this time Beals won a subscription prize camera through the Youth’s Companion magazine. The camera was small and somewhat rudimentary, but Beals began to use it to take photographs of her students and their surroundings. Beals soon bought a higher quality Kodak camera and set up Williamsburg’s first photography studio in front of her house, although photography largely remained her side hobby.
In 1893 Beals took a new teaching position in Greenfield, Massachusetts. fter a visit to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago that year, Beals’ interest in traveling and photography was sparked. In 1897, Beals married Alfred... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessie_Tarbox_Beals)