Ward, Catharine Barnes (1851–1913)

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Ward, Catharine Barnes (1851–1913)

American photographer, writer and lecturer . Name variations: Catharine Barnes. Born Catharine Weed Barnes in Albany, New York, on January 10, 1851; died in 1913 in Hadlow, England; granddaughter of Thurlow Weed; attended Albany Female Academy and the Friends School of Providence, Rhode Island; attended Vassar College, 1869–1871; married Henry Snowden Ward, in 1893 (died 1911).

Catharine Barnes Ward was born in 1851 in Albany, New York, the granddaughter of Thurlow Weed, a journalist and New York politician. During the 1860s, she attended Albany Female Academy and the Friends School of Providence, Rhode Island. From 1869 to 1871, she studied at Vassar College and in 1872 toured Russia with her parents.

Returning to America, Ward traveled the United States and in 1877 began caring for her sick mother. She took up photography in 1886 at her mother's suggestion and, in 1888, received a photographic diploma in Boston. Upon her mother's death, she kept house for her father and built an attic studio to pursue her work as a photographer. In 1890, Ward became the associate editor of American Amateur Photographer. She quickly built a reputation as an advocate for female photographers, as well as a noted writer and lecturer in photography.

As a member of both the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York and the Photographic Society of London, Catharine worked to establish ties between the two countries' photographic communities. She demonstrated this connection in her own marriage to Henry Snowden Ward, the 28-year-old Brit who founded and edited Practical Photographer, in 1893. Together they founded several photography magazines. In 1896, she published and illustrated Shakespeare's Town and Times. She followed this with a series of other illustrated works, including books on Dickens, the Canterbury pilgrimages, and Exmoor, the land of Lorna Doone. Ward returned to the United States with her husband, where they toured the country, working to raise funds for the Dickens centenary. After Henry Ward died in New York in 1911, Ward returned to England, where she died in 1913.


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

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland