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Kendall, Marie Hartig (1854–1943)

Kendall, Marie Hartig (1854–1943)

French-born American photographer who specialized in portraits, landscapes, and documentation. Born in Mulhouse, France, in 1854; died in Norfolk, Connecticut, in 1943; trained as a nurse at Bellevue Hospital, New York, and Charity Hospital on Blackwell's Island; married John Kendall (a physician), in the late 1870s; children: three.

Marie Hartig Kendall, a nurse by training, was 30 years old when she discovered photography as a way to create portraits of her three children. She was talented and in demand, but photography always remained just one of her many interests and activities.

Born in Mulhouse, France, in 1854, where her parents owned cotton and shoe factories, Kendall immigrated to the United States with her family following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. She and her sister began nurses training at Bellevue Hospital, in New York, but Marie was forced to leave when she became engaged to John Kendall, a resident physician there. She completed her training at Charity Hospital on Blackwell's Island and married John late in the 1870s. The couple had three children and moved to Norfolk, Connecticut, in 1884. Unable to afford professional portraits of her children, Kendall saved her money and purchased her own equipment. She was soon selling portraits to her neighbors and friends, and entering camera club competitions. In 1893, she won a bronze medal for her entry in the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and in 1904 she exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. One of her landscape shots was used by the New Haven Railroad in an advertising campaign. Kendall was also a teacher of anatomy and nutrition and was active in temperance and women's suffrage campaigns. Unfortunately, before her death in 1943, Kendall destroyed some 30,000 of her glass negatives; the remaining 250 images, including shots of the 1888 blizzard, are now held at the Norfolk Connecticut Historical Society.


Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. NY: Abbeville Press, 1994.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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