CHEROKEE JENNIE ROSS COBB DIED—FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN WOMAN PHOTOGRAPHER
Born December 26, 1881, in Tahlequah, Indian Territory, a great-granddaughter of Cherokee Chief John Ross, Jennie took up amateur photography around 1896 and continued through 1903. Living in the Murrell Home, one of the oldest homes in Tahlequah (now a National Historic Landmark), her subjects were the house, its surroundings, and school mates. The images defied stereotypical photos of Native Americans, showing Cherokee as educated and fashionable. With her husband, she moved to Texas in 1928 and remained there until 1952, after the deaths of her husband and daughter. In 1952, she returned to Tahlequah to serve as curator of the Murrell Home. Using her photos, she assisted restoration experts. She also oversaw gathering furnishings and artifacts from family and opening of the museum. Cobb died on January 19, 1959 at Tahlequah. The Oklahoma Historical Society holds the Jennie Ross Cobb Collection, which has toured in exhibitions through the years.
Sources: Joan M. Jensen, "Native American Women Photographers As Storytellers," Women Artists of the American West, 1998. Retrieved 6/5/2019, https://www.cla.purdue.edu/WaaW/Jensen/NAW.html. Betty Ridge, "Murrell Home to celebrate 60 years," The Tahlequah Daily Press, 12/9/2008.. Retrieved 6/5/2019, https://www.tahlequahdailypress.com/news/features/murrell-home-to-celebrate-years/article_e6ea43a2-3017-5921-8936-36a1ffb4f792.html. Till, Jennifer E. (1994). Seven Female Photographers of the Oklahoma and Indian Territories, 1889 to 1907, [College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland (1994)]. Photo: Jennie Ross Cobb (1881-1959), circa 1902. Jennie Ross Cobb Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society. Public Domain in U.S.: Pre 1/1/1925. Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.