PORTRAIT OF A FEMALE ENTOMOLOGIST STUDYING BUGS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH IN THE 1920’S

The subject matter of this vintage photograph is definitely unusual. The photographer was an accomplished man outside of field of photography. The subject of this photo is a young woman studying mounted insects. On the blackboard is a drawing and the words “Musca Metamorphosis”. The drawing and the words depict the common house fly and it’s body parts. The woman is likely a biologist or an entomologist. Perhaps she is a student in one of these fields. A microscope, a tank of water, an insect mounting board, and four books can be found on the woman’s lab table. She is wearing a headband to keep her hair out of her eyes while she is working. This photograph was taken by Dr Charles S. Apgar. Apgar was born in 1902 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Westminister College and after two years transferred to the University of Pittsburgh. Apgar attained his PhD there in 1930. He became the head of the biology department at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. In 1945. he was an associate professor of Biology and he attained full professor rank in 1947. A college year book described him as ingenious, versatile, patient, and kind. Between 1961 and 1966, he served as head of the Elizabethtown College Biology department. One source reveals that Professor Apgar was very involved in the colledge’s  academic, as well as, social activities on campus. He was viewed by many students as a role model. His wife worked in the same department as Apgar. She was a PhD biologist who earned a degree at the University of Pennsylvania. The pair were at Elizabethtown College for more than 20 years. The previous owner of this photograph reports that the photo was taken by Apgar in the 1920’s at a University of Pittsburgh lab. This interesting photograph measures about 7 1/2″ x 9 1/4″ and is in very good condition (see scans).     

Buy this Vintage Photograph (includes shipping within the US) #3167

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Buy this Vintage Photograph (includes international shipping outside the US) #3167

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I fear this young lady is a bit over-dressed to be studying bugs in a laboratory…could it be a posed photo…maybe even of the professors wife? One wonders…

    • You very well may be right but t I I i i ithink that the woman is wearing a hair band is a revealing clue that she is not just posing. You are right “one wonders”.

  2. Maybe but.. hair bands were a very popular hair accessory during the 1920s….and very fashionable…I would have expected a lab coat or smock…

    • All we can do is conjecture and that is part of what makes viewing vintage photography so interesting.


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