Before there was an internet full of cats, there was Nancy Hendrickson. This progressive, cat-photographing visionary was born along the Heart River, near Mandan, North Dakota on February 26, 1886, to Swedish immigrants, who probably had no idea of the cat-collecting-levels they were about to unleash on the world.
Nancy was a pioneer, and pioneers push boundaries. She redefined what it meant to be cat-crazy. Chocolate-box kittens are a dime a dozen. Nancy was sharing photographs of her cats wearing clothes she sewed herself*. That’s some straight-up, avant-garde.
The sale of her photos helped support the family farm, which she ran after 1926, through the Great Depression, up until the end of World War II.** She also tended her garden, journals, built the family’s original shack into a large library, and reported statistics to the Weather Bureau. She was like Oprah, only instead of giving away cars, she gave total strangers extraordinary amounts of knowledge. All while taking pictures of cats in skis. Which we all agree, fills people with uncommon levels of joy.
In terms of cat photography, this is genesis. On behalf of Nancy Hendrickson, and all the amazing she captured through a lens, you’re welcome.
*Disclaimer: Nancy was a professional. We don’t suggest you put clothes on your cat. They hate wearing pants, and you will look like a gangster who lost a serious battle with meat hooks.
**A time when the human race was crappier than usual.
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