Jessie Tarbox Beals

beals greeting card2.jpg
beals greeting card.jpg
Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942), Christmas Greeting 1915 (New York: Jessie Tarbox Beals, 1915). Graphic Arts Collection 2013- in process. Single sheet with letterpress poem “A Nocturne of New York” and a silver chloride photograph
of the Flatiron Building.
Portrait-of-Jessie-Tarbox-Beals_credit-Schlesinger-Library1.jpg Jessie Tarbox Beals (c) Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1940) moved to New York City in 1905 to become a professional photographer. Day and night, she carried an enormous box camera (weighing 50 pounds) throughout the city, creating negatives while her husband, Alfred Tennyson Beals, stayed home developing and printing the images. They sold her photographs in various sizes and format, alone and on cards, such as this one.

In 1915, the Beals were living and working in a studio at 71 West 23rd Street. Two years later, Jessie left Alfred, moved to Greenwich Village, and opened The Village Art Gallery on Sheridan Square, where she sold tea, photographs, photographic postcards, and postage stamps. Egmont Arens’s guidebook The Little Book of Greenwich Village dubbed her “The official photographer for Greenwich Village.”

The Flatiron Building at 175 Fifth Avenue opened in 1902, one block east of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower. If you watch this 1920 film closely you will see both skyscrapers around the middle of the reel.