Frances Benjamin Johnston

A Woman and Her Camera

Today is the birthday of Frances Benjamin Johnston - who always went by Fannie.
Fanny was a photographer, and she took portraits of many famous people during her career. Some of her famous subjects included Mark Twain, Susan B Anthony, Booker T. Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt. In 1897 the magazine Ladies Home Journal featured in an article that was written by Fanny called "What a Woman Can Do with a Camera."
But gardeners should also know the name Frances Benjamin Johnston because Fannie also took incredible photos of gardens - public and private - during the early to mid part of the 1900s. Her garden photography of the elite was used in magazines and periodicals like House Beautiful and Country Life. And Fannie went around the country using lantern slides of gardens as visual aids for her lectures on topics like "The Orchids of the White House," "American Gardens," and "Problems of the Small Gardener," to name a few.
One newspaper account said Fannie, “presented with the enthusiasm of a true garden lover.”
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. wrote that Fannie’s photographs were “the finest existing on the subject of American gardens.”
Over her career, Fannie was recognized as one of the first female press photographers in America.
And if you’re a gardening cat lover, you’ll be pleased to know she had two cats; Fannie named them Herman and Vermin.

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Frances Benjamin Johnston
Frances Benjamin Johnston

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