Today marks the 142nd birthday of photographer Bayard Wootten. Born 17 December 1875, Wootten began her photographic career in 1905 in New Bern. The photograph above depicts Wooting blowing out candles on one of her many birthday cakes, probably around 1940. She died on 6 April 1959 in her 83rd year.
In 1998 the University of North Carolina Press published Jerry Cotten’s biography of Wootten, which received the Mary Ellen LoPresti Award from the southeast chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America. In October of this year on the eve of the books twentieth anniversary, UNC Press reissued the biography as a paperback edition featuring photographs reproduced from Wootten’s original negatives using twenty-first digital imaging technology. The results are photographs reproduced with even more richness, both subtle and dramatic, than the first printing.
When you get your new 2018 calendar, circle March 27th. On that evening, Jerry Cotten and I will each give a presentation during a program titled, “Bayard Wootten: Then and Now.” Jerry will talk about Wootten and her accomplishments as featured in the biography, and I will discuss what we have learned about Wootten during the twenty years since the book’s initial publication. The presentations will follow a brief opening reception for a new exhibition in The Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library, and a book signing will follow the presentations.