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Kathryn Abbe was born Kathryn McLaughlin in 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. She was the twin sister of photographer Frances McLaughlin-Gill (1919-2014) and married James Abbe, Jr. (1912-1999), son of the Hollywood photographer James Abbe (1883-1973) in 1946. Kathryn won Vogue’s Prix de Paris photography award in 1941 and worked with Toni Frissell (1907-1988) at Vogue before becoming a freelance photographer in 1944.

In 2011 Kathryn Abbe edited a joint biography with her sister - Twin Lives in Photography: Kathryn Abbe and Frances McLaughlin Gill - which include her portraits of Carmen Dell’Orefice (b.1931), Betsy Drake (1923-2015) - who later married Cary Grant (1904-1986) in 1944 - and the artist Larry Rivers (1923-2002) with his wife Clarice Price (m. 1961-1967) and daughter Gwen-Venus (b. 1965). 

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