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Glass plate negatives made by Catharine (aka Catherine) Weed
Barnes Ward in the K.A.S. Visual Records Collection

Catharine (aka Catherine) Weed Barnes Ward, a pioneer woman photographer (pictured 1890 by Edward S Terry), was born in Albany, New York State, in 1851. In July 1893 she married Henry Snowden Ward, a London-based author, editor, publisher and lecturer whose specialized subjects included photography and the life and work of Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare.
   From 1901 the Wards lived at Golden Green, near Tonbridge, Kent. Together they produced six books - Shakespeare’s Town and Times (1896); The Shakespearean Guide to Stratford-on-Avon (1897); The Real Dickens Land (1904); The Canterbury Pilgrimages (1904); Photography for the Press, and The Land of Lorna Doone (1906).
   Hery died in 1911, Catharine in 1913. During her career she took some 10,000 photographs on glass plates negatives. Most of these are presumed lost. An archive of 2,202 of her negatives is kept at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York State. Many of those she made in Kent for The Canterbury Pilgrimages and The Real Dickens Land were discovered in 2013 in archives of the Kent Archaeological Society in Maidstone, England, having been salvaged following a fire at Maidstone Museum in 1977, and are detailed in the following catalogue.

   Higher-resolution JEPG or TIF files of these images can be supplied to the media, authors, publishers and bona-fide researchers on application to librarian@kentarchaeology.org.uk. We will be pleased to receive any comments that will enable us to identify buildings and places listed as ‘unidentified’ or to correct or expand on details published below.

Images of Canterbury Cathedral and places in Canterbury published in 
  ‘The Canterbury Pilgrimages’ (Henry Snowden Ward; Adam & Charles Black 1904)

Images of Canterbury Cathedral and city found in same collection as above
   but not published in ‘The Canterbury Pilgrimages’. Assumed taken pre-1904 during Catharine Weed Barnes Ward’s visit to Canterbury while working on ‘The Canterbury Pilgrimages’

Images published in ‘The Real Dickens Land with an Outline of Dickens’s Life’
   (Henry Snowden Ward and Catharine Weed Barnes Ward; Adam & Charles Black 1904)

Miscellaneous images In his introduction to ‘The Real Dickens Land’, Henry Snowden Ward wrote: ‘We have left, in our negative boxes, a still greater number of equally interesting subjects’ [that were not featured in the book]. The images below were found among Catharine Weed Barnes Ward’s negatives at the KAS and although their provenance is unproven they are likely to have been her work. We will be pleased to receive any comments that will enable us to identify buildings and places listed as ‘unidentified’ or to correct or expand on details published in these listings. Please email us at research@kentarchaeology.org.uk

More about Catharine Weed Barnes Ward
Catharine Weed Barnes was born in Albany, New York in January, 1851. She was a student at the Albany Female Academy, and graduated with her class in 1868.
   While a student, Catharine was known for her poetry skills and other writing talents. She was a contributing editor to the school’s literary magazine. She was one of many women in her class who went on to have professional careers, which was rather uncommon for the times.
   She began her interest in photography while she was travelling with her parents in Russia in the 1880s. She soon found this to be her passion, and embarked upon a career that carried her into the 20th century, and brought her much acclaim.
   Catharine joined the staff of the American Amateur Photographer as an editor, and became active in numerous photographic associations which had previously been open only to men. She spoke often of the importance of making the art of photography reflect the work, and not the gender of the artist. She opened many doors for those who would follow. She married Henry Snowden Ward in 1893, and collaborated with him on several books.
   At the present day Albany Academies, a school comprised of the Albany Academy ( 1813) and the Albany Academy for Girls ( 1814) , the photography classes are a combination of both early techniques and modern applications of the art and skill of photography. The students learn the fine art of black and white photography. The guiding principles of composition, film processing and dark room printing techniques are taught in the early level classes. Later course work provides the opportunity for students to concentrate on more advanced techniques using both film and digital cameras, as well as computer software programs.
   When the KAS made the wonderful find of Catharine’s "lost" plates, she once again found her way into the world of photographic prominence. The students at the Albany Academies are looking forward to studying these recovered images and learning from one of their own.

Margaret Lamar King
Albany Academy for Girls, Class of 1965
Alumna Archives Volunteer

 

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