Nell B. Dorr

From Ohio History Central
Dorr, Nell B..jpg
This self-portrait shows Massillon, Ohio photographer Nell Becker Dorr with a camera.

Nell Becker Dorr was a prominent twentieth-century American photographer.

Nell Becker was born in 1895 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father operated a photography business, and at the age of twelve Nell began to mix chemicals in the studio. The Becker family moved to Florida in 1923, and Nell Becker later opened her own photography studio. She moved to New York City and held her first showing of her own photographs in 1934. At this time Becker married her second husband, John Van Nostrand Dorr, who was one of the subjects of her first exhibition.

Following her first exhibit, Nell Dorr emerged as one of the leading photographers in the United States. She continued to operate her photography studio in New York until 1954, when her youngest daughter died. Dorr closed her studio and dedicated herself to photographing mothers and daughters to memorialize her own lost child. During her career, Dorr published four books of her photographs, including In a Blue Moon (1939) and Mothers and Daughters (1954), The Bare Feet (1962), and Of Night and Day (1968). Dorr's work became widely known and critics still view her as one of the greatest photographic artists of the twentieth century. Dorr died in 1988.

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