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Photos from a 19th-century trailblazer

Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT) March 9, 2017
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Zaida Ben-Yusuf was a New York-based photographer who operated a popular Fifth Avenue studio in the late 19th century. She took portraits of many famous people at the time. According to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, which exhibited her work in 2008, "Ben-Yusuf was the epitome of the 'New Woman' -- a class of predominantly younger women who at the century's end sought to challenge prevailing gender norms." Courtesy Library of Congress
Theodore Roosevelt was governor of New York when he posed for Ben-Yusuf in 1899. He became president of the United States two years later. "Despite her young age and her recent arrival in America, (Ben-Yusuf) attracted to her studio many of the era's most prominent artistic, literary, theatrical and political figures," said her biography at the National Portrait Gallery. "Seen together, these individuals represent a remarkable cross section of a place that was rapidly becoming America's first modern city." Courtesy Library of Congress
Minnie Maddern Fiske was a popular stage actress at the turn of the century. Courtesy Library of Congress
Ben-Yusuf's work also included fine art photography and photo illustrations for various publications. This piece, "The Odor of Pomegranates," was created in 1899. Ben-Yusuf "was in the vanguard of women who became professional photographers as magazines reached massive circulation figures and photographs supplanted drawn illustration art," according to the Library of Congress. Courtesy Library of Congress
Elbert Hubbard was a writer and philosopher with his share of famous quotes. Courtesy Library of Congress
Another portrait of Fiske, one of the leading actresses of the era. Courtesy Library of Congress
This photo illustration, showing a woman and two men in a jewelry store, was for an article in 1902. Ben-Yusuf, the London-born daughter of a German mother and Algerian father, came to the United States in 1895. Later in life, she transitioned from photography into the world of fashion. Courtesy Library of Congress
Actress Elsie Leslie wears her costume for Richard Sheridan's play "The Rivals." Courtesy Library of Congress
This photo illustration, of two women in a canoe, was conceived for an article in 1901. Courtesy Library of Congress