American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Endless Summer

[The Whites and the Smiths Crossing Bridge...
Toni Frissell (1907-88)
[The Whites and the Smiths Crossing
Bridge from Watch Island for
Tennis at Rum Point]

Gelatin silver print, July 1957
Prints & Photographs Division

In July 1957, Toni Frissell (1907-1988) made this photograph as part of a Sports Illustrated picture story about a group of families who vacationed together each year at the Thousand Islands, a large group of islands in the St. Lawrence River, located in a widening of the river between New York State and Ontario.

For seventy-five years a half-dozen families from various U.S. cities and Europe came together to "the River" to fish, row and sail skiffs unique to the region, and carry on intense three-generational tennis matches and baseball games. Over the years, a dozen marriages resulted from the summer meetings of the clans.

Frissell herself joined the tradition when she married into the Bacon family. She had already started making a name for herself as a photographer when she married New York society member Francis Bacon, so she continued her career under her maiden name. She worked on the staffs of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and sold stories independently to other top magazines, as well as making two trips to photograph World War II in the European theater.

Always the sports enthusiast, Frissell found a way to put her athleticism to professional advantage in 1953 by becoming the first female on the staff of the recently begun Sports Illustrated. A female sports photographer was a rarity at the time. When the Baltimore Museum of Art mounted its "Man in Sport" exhibition in 1968, Frissell was the only woman in a long list of photographers selected for the show.

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