Undated portrait of Elizabeth Withington taken at<br /> Bradley & Rolufson photography studio in San Francisco.
Undated portrait of Elizabeth Withington taken at Bradley & Rolufson photography studio in San Francisco.

Elizabeth Withington (1825-1877) is best known for her photographs of miners, mining camps, and landscapes in Amador County. She traveled hundreds of miles by stagecoach with her equipment. Withington was resourceful, using her parasol to shade her camera and spare skirts as a makeshift dark-tent for developing photographs on the road.

Withington studied photography on the East Coast before returning to California and settling in lone. She opened the Excelsior Ambrotype Gallery in 1857 and used the space to take portraits and teach classes. Withington’s article “How a Woman Makes Landscape Photographs,” which outlined her methods, was published in the Philadelphia Photographer in 1876.

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