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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frederick H. Pratt

Born: Frederick Haven Pratt 
Dates:  1873, 19 July - 1958, 11 July
Born:  US, MA, Worcester
Died:  US, MA, Wellesley Hills

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Frederick H. Pratt
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Pratt was an important physiologist and teacher, performing research on the human heart and muscles. He published papers in the American Journal of Physiology for at least forty years beginning around 1898. He made pictorial photographs and, from 1905 to 1910, was associated with the Photo-Secession, America’s most advanced group of camera workers.
Frederick Haven Pratt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on July 19, 1873. In 1898, he earned a master’s degree from Harvard University, and served as the commodore for the Cohasset (Massachusetts) Yacht Club. He subsequently studied at the university in Göttingen, Germany, and received his M.D. from Harvard in 1906. His teaching career as a professor of physiology included positions at Wellesley College (1906-12), the University of Buffalo (1912-18), Clark University (1919-20), and Boston University (1921-42). After he retired from teaching, he became president of the Harvard Apparatus Company, designing and manufacturing supplies for physiology research.
Pratt’s creative photographs appeared in the 1904 Toronto salon and the first two American Photographic Salons, which traveled nationally in 1904-05 and 1905-06. In 1906, his pictures were seen in the London salon, the Photographic Art exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the annual photography exhibition of his hometown Worcester Art Museum. Pratt was involved in the organization of the latter show, in which five of his pictures (showing mothers and children) were seen, and in 1909 he served on its jury. He also showed in the 1907 Exhibition of Pictorial Photographs Arranged by the Photo-Club of Canada, displayed at the Art Association of Montreal.
Alfred Stieglitz invited Pratt to join the Photo-Secession, and, in 1906, he was designated a fellow. Stieglitz included Pratt’s work in many exhibitions he organized, among them the first three members’ shows, presented between 1905 and 1907 at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in New York. Pratt’s pictures were also seen in the Secession’s exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia) in 1906, the National Arts Club (New York) in 1909, and the 1910 International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography at Buffalo’s Albright Art Gallery. One of the last issues of Stieglitz’s exquisite quarterly, Camera Work (April 1914), featured a dark landscape by Pratt, printed in photogravure.
Interested in American history, Pratt researched Revolutionary period families late in life. He died on July 11, 1958, in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. 
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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