Noted Photographer Bayard Wootten

Bayard WoottenAll this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past.

Pioneering North Carolina photographer Bayard Wootten came from a long line of coastal creative-types. Her grandmother was a noted writer and editor, her father a photographer and her mother supported the family by painting decorations on hats and fans. Wootten attended what is now UNC-G for a year and then taught school in Georgia before shifting her efforts to commercial art. After designing the first trademark for Caleb Bradham’s Pepsi-Cola, she transitioned from artwork to photography around 1904. She gained experience at Camp Glenn, the National Guard installation in Morehead City, where she was hired as photographer and director of publicity. Her business flourished and her half-brother George Moulton joined her full-time. In 1910 Wootten protested sexual discrimination in a professional publication and later took part in suffrage demonstrations. As a pioneer in the field Wootten achieved numerous firsts, often endangering her safety to get the picture. She flew over New Bern in 1919 to get early aerial views, photographed Linville Falls after being lowered over a cliff by a rope, and late in life, shot a mill from atop a water tower. The State Archives and North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill both hold a significant amount of her work.

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