02: Dorothy Catherine Draper is a trulyÂ forgotten figureÂ in American history. She was the first woman to ever sit for a photograph — a daguerrotype, actually, in the year 1840, upon the rooftop of the school which would become New York University.
TheÂ circumstances that got her to this position wereÂ rather unique. She was the older sister of aÂ professor namedÂ John William Draper, and she assisted him in his success and fame even when it seemed a detriment to her. The Drapers worked alongside Samuel Morse in the period following his invention of the telegraph.
The legendary portrait was taken when Miss DraperÂ was a young woman but a renewed interest in the image in the 1890s brought the now elderly matron a bit of late-in-life recognition.
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02Â MISS DRAPER: THE FIRST WOMAN PHOTOGRAPHED
Dorothy Catherine Draper in the first portrait photograph ever taken and the first photograph of a female face.
Draper in the 1890s, in a photograph taken by her nephew.
The observatory attached to the Draper house in Hastings-on-Hudson.
John William Draper
Samuel Morse from an image taken of him in Paris.