Mary Thorpe Montgomery (Mother of the Photographer) by Ruth Montgomery’s Mantle

LB1990.49.238
Ruth Montgomery Collection
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Chesebro

Ruth took this photo of her stepmother, Mary Thorpe Montgomery, in her own home. Mary had started her adult life as a teacher, as so many other young women from Maine at the turn of the century had done. When she married Adelbert Montgomery in 1884, however, she brought her teaching and homemaking skills to sea accompanying him on the CARRIE WINSLOW. As teacher, stepmother and constant companion at sea, Mary no doubt meant a great deal to Ruth, whose own mother died when she was three. Mary’s formal black attire suggests that she may have been in mourning.

It is no coincidence that all the photographs printed for this exhibit are portraits, both formally and informally posed. Most of Montgomery’s photographs were portraits, whether strangers or friends and family, suggesting a poignant affinity for people.