Some Mother’s Son: The War Photography of Josephine Herrick
From the Professional Women Photographers Blog – July 11, 2016
On December 6th, 1941, Pearl Harbor wasn’t a place on the mind of many Americans, if they knew about it at all. Located on the island of Oahu near Honolulu, it was home to thousands of servicemen and the U.S. Pacific fleet. Danger was thought to be elsewhere, in the war spreading across Europe. America, protected by sea and strong isolationist sentiment, wasn’t involved.
That changed the next morning when hundreds of Japanese planes dropped from the sky just before eight. Swooping down on the naval base, they bombed, torpedoed, and strafed till twenty U.S. vessels and hundreds of aircraft were crippled or destroyed. When they departed two hours later, the harbor was black with smoke, the water strewn with wreckage and crumpled ships. Nearly 2,500 servicemen perished, 1,177 of them entombed in the USS Arizona when a bomb struck the ammunition magazine. It was the day that changed the course of America, and sent the destinies of a generation spinning.
The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Unlike recent conflicts, Word War ll was a shared burden that cast a long shadow over many families. As troops headed overseas, people pitched in at home. Many women went to work in factories like Rosie the Riveter, and millions volunteered for the Red Cross, while others contributed in unique, personal ways. One of these was Josephine Herrick.
Josephine-herrick/Herrick was born in 1897, the third child of a prominent Cleveland family. During World War l, she served as a Red Cross nurse in her home city, then attended Bryn Mawr, and later the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York. There she mastered the technology and art of the discipline, exhibiting her work, winning several awards in shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 1928, she opened a photo studio with her friend, Princess Miguel de Braganza, an American socialite who’d married man of royal Portuguese descent. Located on East 63rd Street in Manhattan’s Silk Stocking District, the studio specialized in portraits of debutantes and children. Before Pearl Harbor, as conflict grew in Europe, Herrick joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services, training photographers to document news events and educate the public on blackouts.
About Professional Women Photographers
Professional Women Photographers (PWP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women photographers. Through exhibitions, workshops and networking opportunities, PWP creates a dynamic and inspiring environment that encourages individual growth and promotes public interest in photography. Our monthly lecture series combines social networking with the opportunity to meet successful photographers and industry leaders who discuss their careers, artistic inspiration, and technical choices. http://www.pwponline.org/about
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