Monday, August 27, 2012

Evelyn Cameron

Today's post remembers Evelyn Cameron. She was born on August 26, 1868.

Terry, Montana, on the state’s eastern edge, was home to Evelyn Cameron, a talented woman who documented the homesteading era and Montana outdoors with shutter, lens, and expert eye. Cameron’s photographs capture the spirit of the West just as surely as Charlie Russell’s famous paintings define Montana cowboys. Cameron came to Montana from England with her husband to raise polo ponies to ship back to the British Isles. Although that idea failed, Cameron learned the art of photography and set about capturing life on the eastern plains. She died in 1928, but years later in the late 1970s, Time-Life books editor Donna Lucey stumbled upon 1,800 photo negatives and 2,700 original prints, stored for half a century in the Terry basement of Janet Williams, Cameron’s best friend. Lucey studied Cameron’s meticulous diaries and photographs to research her book, Photographing Montana 1894–1928: The Life and Works of Evelyn Cameron. Published in 2000, it revealed many of Cameron’s photos for the first time. If you visit Terry, be sure to stop at the Prairie County Museum and visit the Cameron ranch site.

Cameron snapped this photo of her brother Alec Flower with a magnificent cabbage harvest in 1898.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives PAc 90-87

Dick Brown poses next to a pile of wolf hides in this Cameron photo.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives PAc 90-87.24-5

Cameron kneads dough in this 1904 self-portrait.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives PAc 90-87.35-5

From Montana Moments: History on the Go
P.S. Remember the scandal Cameron created when she rode into Miles City wearing this skirt?


  1. Always on of my favorite Montana women.

  2. Thank you for this post, and happy birthday Evelyn Cameron! Donna Lucey's book is a great resource. And the Prairie County Museum and Evelyn Cameron gallery in Terry are well worth the visit!

  3. Be sure to plan ahead. That Terry museum is not always open, so you can't just stop by and expect to get in.

  4. On the window of both the Prairie County Museum and the Cameron Gallery is a list of Museum Board members and their phone numbers. We are always more than happy to come down and open up for visitors. We are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and during the rest of the year we are just " a phone call away".

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