Selectman and His Wife, ca. 1899.

While exhibiting in the salons was critical to affirming the Allens’ place in the milieu of art photography, it was through books and periodicals that their work became familiar to a broader audience. Books reproducing Allen sisters’ photographs, by authors such as Alice Morse Earle and Marion Harland, generally drew on the strengths of old Deerfield. Frances and Mary’s photographs were most frequently reproduced in popular magazines. In December 1900, a photograph of their gleeful nephew Frank Allen, “Christmas Stocking,” was used for the cover of Good Housekeeping. It was the first time that the magazine had used a photograph for its cover. Since few women photographers did commercial work, this high profile cover considerably enhanced the Allen sisters’ reputation.

Photographs courtesy of Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield, MA.