Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Watson, Edith Sarah[1, 2, 3, 4]

Female 1861 - 1943  (~ 82 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Watson, Edith Sarah 
    Birth Nov 1861  South Windsor, Hartford County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6
    Gender Female 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1920s  Canada and BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Death 22 Dec 1943  Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Burial East Windsor Hill Cemetery, East Windsor Hill, CT Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Person ID I1471  Camera Workers | W, vol. 2, 1901-1950
    Last Modified 17 Oct 2019 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Photo-journalist (visit).
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: According to Rooney's biography, Edith Watson, who lived and worked from their Connecticut home beginning in 1912 with a Bermudian writer named Victoria ("Queenie") Hayward, travelled across Canada several times. She and her partner sold many photo-illustrated stories or photographs alone to National Geographic magazine and the Canadian Magazine of Politics, Science, Art and Literature (1914-1925), as well as to many other publishing outlets. Her travels to B.C. took over as far west as Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and as far north in B.C. to at least Stewart on the Alaska border. The earliest dated photographs she took in Canada are from 1894, and none of the B.C. photos date before the late 1910s. Edith obtained permission from Doukhobor leaders to photograph communes in B.C. and made three summer trips between 1918 and 1920 to obtain photos. Rooney notes that since Edith insisted on always being paid for her photographs, none of her images, despite being solicited, were ever published in the artistic photography magazines of her day: "in the end she did herself much more harm than good by sticking to her professional standards." (p. 17). Her one major book, illustrated with her photographs and published by Macmillan in 1922, was Romantic Canada. She died on a trip to Flordia.
      A relative by marriage, Lois Watson, was singlehandedly responsible for saving all of Edith's photographs.

  • Sources 
    1. [S152] COLLECTION: OOA.
      R10703-0-7-E, album of a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 1913); albums (prints) and negatives (location unknown); according to Carlevaris, "Watson's photographs are deposited in various private and public collections, including the National Archives of Canada, the Notman Archives of the McCord Museum, Montréal and the Archives of the United Church of Canada".

    2. [S416] Victoria Hayward. Illustrated with photographs by Edith S. Watson, Hayward (1922), (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1922).

    3. [S238] Carlevaris, Anna Maria, Carlevaris (1996), (History of Photography vol. 20, no. 2 (Summer 1996):163-165).

    4. [S332] Frances Rooney, Rooney (1996), (Ottawa, ON: Carleton University Press; United Kingdom: Images Publishing (Malvern), 1996).

    5. [S667] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (Web site).
      Provides birth date and birthplace
      "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," URL (accessed 16 Oct 2019):

    6. [S832] Find a Grave (Web site).
      Edith Sarah Watson; birthplace given as South Windsor, Hartford County, CT
      URL (accessed 15 Oct 2019):

    7. [S832] Find a Grave (Web site).
      Edith Sarah Watson
      URL (accessed 15 Oct 2019):