Pasadena, California

The garden terrace of the Myron Hunt house, 200 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California, 1917, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This looks like such a tranquil and comfortable garden space — while at the same time, just a little mysterious. If you look closely, you can see that there is a simple rope and board swing hanging from a tree limb in the center, and at least one of the chairs is a rocking chair.

Hunt was a successful architect in Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. He designed this house and garden for himself in 1905. Today, the house survives, but the garden is gone.

There is another Johnston image of the garden here, looking across an open garden room to the steps and elevated bust shown above.

Botany class

“A class in flowers, 6th Division,” ca. 1899, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Before she began the work she is probably best known for, that of photographing old houses and gardens, Johnston was a photojournalist and a portraitist. In 1899, she became interested in progressive education and made a photo survey of students at public schools in Washington, D.C.

Wreathed

Woman in daisy field, Library of Congress“Woman with wreath of leaves in her hair sitting in a field of daisies,” ca. 1900, photographer unknown, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This photo was part of a large group of “artistic photographs,” primarily by early women photographers, that was donated to the Library of Congress by Frances Benjamin Johnston. In the spring of 1900, she had used some of these images in an exhibition of work by American women photographers at the Exposition Universelle Internationale in Paris.