The Harp o’ The Four Winds-Nantucket

The Harp o’ The Four Winds-Nantucket

Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942) is credited as being the first female photojournalist. Although Canadian-born, New England and Massachusetts would play formative roles in her early life. According to a short online biography provided by the New-York Historical Society, which holds an extensive archive of her work, Jessie was only 17 when she moved to Williamsburg, Mass from Hamilton, Ontario to join an older brother. There, her first job was teaching:

seven pupils in a one-room schoolhouse for $7 a week… later, she became interested in photography the following year in 1888 after acquiring her first camera in a magazine contest. Shortly, she became a professional after investing $12 and bought a Kodak camera, with which she established a photo studio on the front lawn of her home. Local residents came to have their portraits taken, or to ask for pictures of their houses and other possessions. Beals was aided in her commercial endeavors by groups of Smith College students, (from nearby Northampton-ed) who wanted pictures to be made of their parties and picnics. By the end of two summers she was making more money taking photographs than teaching school.


This example of Beal’s landscape work was taken in the Bay State in Nantucket, a 1920 caption in the New York Tribune for it stating: “An early morning camera symphony—the Harp o’ the Four Winds, Nantucket, Mass., at 5 a. m.”

print details recto: titled and signed left and right respectively within lower margin of support: The Harp o’ The Four Winds, Nantucket   &  Jessie Tarbox Beals NY  (signed in graphite within print at lower right ©Beals)
photographs taken ca. 1905-15, this example (possibly a Bromide print) ca 1920-26 when she rented a salon-studio at 333 Fourth Ave. in N.Y.C.

print details verso: black inkstamp, centered on support:


Related Blog Entries

New Year Liftoff

The Harp o’ The Four Winds-Nantucket

Image Dimensions19.0 x 23.9 cm laid down along edges

Support Dimensions43.1 x 28.2 cm greyish moderately-thick art paper