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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Julia Marshall

Dates:  1896 - 1994, 1 December
Died:  US, MN, Duluth

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Julia Marshall
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Julia Marshall made more of a mark as a philanthropist than as a pictorialist, but for a time she was devoted to photography. She was born on February 5, 1896, in Duluth, Minnesota, the city to which she devoted much of her life and family fortune (derived from her father’s substantial wholesale hardware company, Marshall-Wells).
She graduated from the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and volunteered in U.S. Army mess halls during World War I. But by the early 1920s, she was captivated by artistic photography. She studied with the former Photo-Secessionist Clarence H. White, bought at least four photographs from him, and also acquired a near-complete set of Camera Work (1903-1917), the holy grail of photographic magazines. In 1969, she donated to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this run of periodicals, which included an issue inscribed to her by White.
She may have joined the Pictorial Photographers of America, a national organization begun by White after the demise of the Photo-Secession. Its annual Pictorial Photography in America 1922 reproduced her full-page image Silhouettes—Egypt, showing figures and animals on a low horizon. This well-designed publication included only seventy-five illustrations, by the likes of Laura Gilpin, D. J. Ruzicka, Edward Weston, and White, putting her in good company. The next year, two of her pictures—again of foreign subjects—were juried into the Pictorial Photographers of America first annual salon, presented at the Art Center in New York.
Marshall enjoyed traveling and lived at various times in India and the Middle East. During World War II, she served in the Women’s Army Corps and subsequently turned much of her attention to her native city. She and her sister (both unmarried) showered Duluth with their time and funding, helping individuals and organizations improve Duluth’s physical appearance and civic and cultural life. Julia was a founder of the city’s League of Women Voters, served as the first woman director of the Chamber of Commerce, and in 1968 was designated Duluth’s Woman of the Year. She donated real estate for the convention center and spearheaded the Marshall Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. On December 1, 1994, Julia Marshall died in her Duluth home, at ninety-eight years of age. 
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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