Harry Shepherd, photographer

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The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Harry Shepherd, photographer

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 25, 2019

We are featuring African-American photographers during this last week of Black History Month. These photographers have worked in all areas of the field, including commercial, artistic, and vernacular photography. They created a great record of life in Minnesota through their work, spanning from the late 19th-century to today.

Today's photographer is Harry Shepherd, the first African-American photographer in Minnesota. Known as the "People's Photographer," he operated studios and galleries throughout Saint Paul in the 1880s – early 1900s. He largely took portraits and wedding photos.

This is a formal portrait done by Shepherd of two unidentified women, circa 1890 - 1899.