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Mary Dale Clarke was born in Florida in 1875. She moved to New York before the turn of the 20th century and trained as a fine artist. Her poor eyesight pushed her to begin photography, and her friendship with actor Walter Hampden (1897-1955) encouraged her to become a theatrical photographer, specialising also in children’s phottography because of the competition in the latter field. Clarke gave credit to her two hired additional cameramen at her studio, Charles J. Fox and John J. McCutcheon. In the late 1920s Clarke also began photographing modern architecture.

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