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