Boston: Elmer Chickering, [circa 1889-1893].
Albumen print photograph, (19 x 24 cm. plus margins). Photographer’s imprint and manuscript inscriptions on verso, identifying the women pictured and their hometowns. This rare photo, taken by Boston photographer Elmer Chickering, shows Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857–1915) seated at front left surrounded by the students. Most are holding cooking utensils while one holds a cookbook and another kneads dough. Farmer graduated Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cooking School in 1889 and was asked to remain as assistant to the director in 1890. She became the school’s director in 1891, resigning in 1902 to open her own school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. We have not determined if this photo was taken during Farmer’s final years at the Boston Cooking School or soon after she had established her own school. All eleven women in the photo are identified on the verso, along with their hometowns. They include: Ida A. Maynard (author of “High Altitude Cooking”), Marion L. Campbell (founder of the Friendly Inn Cooking School of Cleveland, Ohio), Grace G. Allen (of Pawtucket, R.I.), Margaret Mather Sill (founder of Miss Liggetts’ School, and the Girls Friendly Society), Sarah E. Craig (culinary lecturer in Cincinnati, Ohio), Anna C. Woodman (Jamaica Plain), Anna T. Windell (Quincy Mass.), and of course Fannie M. Farmer. No other examples of this image have been located. Age-toning to photograph and card mount; card mount is chipped at edges, not affecting image. A two-inch crease impacts the image on right margin but is faint. The verso, containing the photographer’s label with the signatures is heavily toned, and the chipping effects the printed border of the label, but no text or the signatures.