The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
If you put it on Flickr, will they come? Well in this case, the answer is, "yes." In March 2009 we posted a number of images of women scientists on Flickr. Among them were some images for which we didn't have much identification. The response was fantastic. We had a whole new group of volunteer researchers putting up suggestions, and posting citations from newspapers and other online resources.
One image in particular caught a lot of attention. E.S. Goodwin was the only information with the original photo. Over the next few months our volunteers went back and forth with information. By July 2009 our Flickr followers had found a high school yearbook photo positively identifying our mystery woman as Ida Elizabeth Sabin Goodwin, an artist who lived in DC and attended the Corcoran School of Art.
Now the question: Why is an artist's picture in a collection of photographs of scientists? That answer took a bit longer. Enter Linda Goodwin Eisenstadt, Elizabeth's granddaughter. Two months ago we were elated to hear from Ms. Eisenstadt, who helped fill in the gaps. She informed us that Elizabeth Sabin Goodwin worked for Science Service (the source of the image we posted) as an illustrator. We also learned that Elizabeth was not only an award winning artist, but a poet and an avid gardener, among many other things. Eisenstadt also included samples of some of Elizabeth's artwork.
Many of us in the Smithsonian Archives were taken with Elizabeth's picture from the moment we saw it, and now there is a real personal connection. Thanks, Linda. Your grandmother rocks!