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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Anne Pilger Dewey

Dates:  1890, 1 September - 1980, 31 October
Born:  US, WI, Manitowoc
Died:  US, CA, Woodland Hills

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Anne Pilger Dewey
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Dewey helped administer numerous national and Chicago-area photographic organizations from the 1930s to the 1950s. During the same period, she exhibited still-lifes, portraits, and nudes in national pictorial salons.
Anne Pilger was born on September 1, 1890, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where she graduated from the local teachers college. Subsequently, she taught school, married Roy Franklin Dewey, and moved with her husband to Chicago, where she performed social work at Hull House and the Henry Boothe House.
Dewey involved herself in managing camera clubs even before becoming a pictorialist. She initially attended meetings of Chicagoís Fort Dearborn Camera Club with her husband, also an amateur photographer, and soon found herself running programs and doing other organizational work. She edited the clubís newsletter, Spotting Brush, from 1943 to 1945, and served as its first female president. She was a founder and president of the Chicago Historical Societyís annual photographic salon and the first woman to become president of the Chicago Area Camera Club Association. In addition, she was a founding member of the Photographic Society of America and its secretary from 1945 to 1947.
Dewey was making her own pictorial images by the mid-1930s, when she began exhibiting in the salons. Her work was accepted by juries in Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Memphis, Wichita, Rochester, New York, and Los Angeles. The 1945-46 season was her most prolific, with sixty-five prints accepted at more than thirty-five salons; she continued submitting work until about mid-century. She enjoyed making portraits and night scenes, but her real area of expertise was tabletop photography (a topic on which she lectured), welcoming its challenges and the control it allowed. During the 1940s, her images were reproduced in magazines such as American Photography, Camera,Camera Craft,Popular Photography, and thePSA Journal.
Dewey was highly honored during and beyond her active years as a pictorialist. Frequently sought as a salon judge, she performed such duties as late as 1964, when she sat on the jury of the Memphis International Exhibition. In 1948, she was honored with a one-person exhibition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From the Photographic Society of America she received the Stuyvesant Peabody Award in 1949, given to an outstanding pictorialist, and in 1972 an honorary fellowship (Hon. FPSA), the organizationís highest award. Anne Pilger Dewey died in Woodland Hills, California, on October 31, 1980. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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