Dec 17, 2021 - News

Iowa pays tribute to forgotten photographer

A photo of Cornelia Clarke.
Cornelia Clarke. Photo courtesy of the Grinnell Historical Museum, via Wikipedia

Dozens of photographic negatives taken about a century ago by Iowa scientist Cornelia Clarke are now published online by the State Archives of Iowa.

Driving the news: Clarke, who died in 1936, was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame last month.

State of play: Clarke was one of the first women in the state to document Iowa botanicals, but her work was largely lost until 2017.

  • That's when a researcher discovered Clarke's glass plate negatives, held by the State Historical Society, had been mistakenly attributed to a man.
  • State officials now estimate that more than 1,200 of her photos have been published in books, encyclopedias, magazines and newspapers.

🐱 Thought bubble: Clarke had a sense of humor, evident in photos of cats she dressed as humans.

  • Even though a man had been credited for much of her serious work, we think she got the last laugh.
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