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Doris Ulmann was an American photographer, best known for her portraits of the people of Appalachia, which were made between 1928 and 1934. A native of New York, Ulmann originally wanted to become a psychology teacher. Her interest in photography was at first a hobby, but after 1918, she devoted herself to the art professionally. Ulmann became a member of the Pictorial Photographers of America, after which she trained as a Pictorialist and graduated from the Clarence H. White School of Modern Photography. 


Ulmann’s early work includes a series of prominent intellectuals, artists, and writers, including William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Lillian Gish (1893-1993) and Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), and her work was frequently exhibited in New York galleries, as well as published in Theatre Arts Monthly, Mentor, Scribner’s Magazine, and Survey Graphic. In 1932, Ulmann began working on her most important series; a documentation of Appalachia for Allen Eaton’s book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, which was published in 1937. Due to ill health, Ulmann collapsed in August 1934, while working near Asheville, North Carolina. She returned to New York where she died shortly after on 28th August 1934. 

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