Remembering Monroe

Ollie H. Monroe was an early woman photographer that I talked about here on the podcast a couple of years ago.

Mrs. O.H. Monroe (from the 1903 book on Elyria, Ohio)
Mrs. O.H. Monroe
(from the 1903 book on Elyria, Ohio)

She had such a long and varied career that it took me 2 episodes to talk about her life and colorful career (Ollie Monrie – Part 1 and Olllie Monroe – Part 2). Recently, I was alerted to an interesting post over at the website Shadows & Light about some negatives they found from the Monroe Studio in Tulsa, OK. The negatives came in an envelope marked the Monroe Studio in Tulsa, run by C.A. Burritt. As the blog post points out, C.A. Burritt bought out Ollie Monroe when she left Tulsa in 1919.

Now, seeing the name C.A. Burritt in that post reminded me that there was more that I’d intended to say about the Monroe Studio in Tulsa. So today, let’s find out a little more about the Monroe Studio in Tulsa.

Mrs. O.H. (Ollie) Monroe opened the Monroe Studio in Tulsa in 1915. C.A. Burritt bought the Monroe studio in Tulsa from Ollie Monroe in 1919 – but C.A. Burritt wasn’t alone in running the studio. Between 1919-1934, he ran the studio with his first wife, Florence. After Florence Burritt died in 1934, C.A. remarried. He and his second wife, Mary, ran the Monroe studio from 1934-1954.

In 1946, there are large ads in the newspaper profiling some of the people who work at the studio; the ad below spotlights Mary Burritt herself:

1946 AD FOR THE MONROE STUDIO. Includes Photo of Mary Burritt. Tulsa World, March 3, 1946
Tusla World, March 3, 1946

In 1954, the Burritts retired, selling the studio to the husband and wife team of J.D. and Mildred Ward. The Wards rebranded the studio slightly, calling it “Ward’s Monroe Studio.” The studio continued under that name until 1978, when the Wards retired and the Monroe Studio seems to have closed for good.

Wad for Ward's Monroe Studio, Tulsa World, August 3, 1958
Ad showing new “Ward’s Monroe Studio” brand, Tulsa World, August 3, 1958

So the Monroe Studio in Tulsa, OK, was started in 1915 by the photographer/entrepreneur-extraordinaire Mrs. O.H. Monroe, and it was around for the next 68 years, continung under the Monroe name the entire time That’s quite a long run for a brand!

And … throughout those 68 years, there was always a woman involved in running that studio.

I have my own guidelines for how I choose people to spotlight here on Photographs, Pistols & Parasols. Usually my “rule” for profiling a woman here is that the woman’s career needs to have started no later than 1930. Although Florence Burritt would have merited a mention here since she started her career well before 1930, both Mary Burritt and Mildred Ward started their photography careers too late to be “proper” subjects for a post.

But … I’d always thought the long unbroken string of woman owners associated with the Monroe Studio in Tulsa was definitely worthy of a mention at some point. Many thanks to the folks at the Shadows & Light blog. Their post, about the Monroe studio, which links back to my first podcast episode about Ollie Monroe, gave me the nudge I needed to remember to share the rest of the Monroe Studio story.