Minnesota history: Women photographers in the 19th century

L. V. Bean Photography Studio
During the late 19th century, Sioux Falls' L. V. Bean Photography Studio was one of many around the country that featured women photographers. Sarah Full Bean was one of them. She is pictured here in 1885 holding baby Elura Full. In the upstairs window is Julia Moran Full and L. V. Bean (with beard on sidewalk) is second from left.
Photo Courtesy of the Siouxland Heritage Museums, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Photography studios popped up all over the country in the late 19th century, and a surprising number of the photographers were women.

"You wouldn't know their names. No one would know their names. They're not the kind of people who really stood out as amazing artists. They were workaday women who made a living taking photographs," historian Annette Atkins said.

Atkins teaches at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville. She told MPR's Cathy Wurzer why photography was an attractive line of work for women during that era.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.