Reeling back the years to find America's first female anglers


We are partnering with the author of People Fishing: A Century of Photographs to ask our users to identify the subjects in some of the earliest known photographs of women angling in America.

Dating from the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, this gallery of images comes from found photo archive and curatorial services company Project B, and show humanity’s long standing love of fishing and how women have been enjoying the activity for centuries.

We are calling on our community of anglers to come forward with any information on the subjects of these photographs (be it their location, identity, or even possible likeness), as well as share their own earliest images of women fishing.

With the art of fishing being passed down from generation to generation, the women pictured in the book may well also be present in your family photo albums, dusty boxes in attics, and other personal archives - and we are calling on you to help tell these women’s stories.

Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby

Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, 1894, Courtesy of the Maine State Museum

Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, 1894, Courtesy of the Maine State Museum

One identified subject featured in the gallery is Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby (1854-1946), a one-time bank clerk who became Maine’s first licensed guide. Renowned for her newspaper columns, ‘Fly Rod's Note Book’, Crosby’s tales of adventures in fishing and hunting and were syndicated across America. Described as a ‘6-foot outdoorswoman’, she was initially inspired to take up fishing after being advised by a doctor to take ‘a large dose of the outdoors’ to combat respiratory problems.

If you do recognise any of these people, or would like to share a similar image of your own, please post details in the app using the hashtag #myfishingpast

People Fishing: A Century of Photographs is available to purchase from Princeton Architectural Press

Can you identify any of these anglers or fishing locations?

Help make angling history by finding these anglers

All images rights belong to the collection of Barbara Levine/Project B