Unidentified women fishing, left to right: Lake George, N.Y., ca. 1910; Point Isabel, Texas, ca. 1925; Miami Beach, Fla., ca. 1945. (Project B/Fishbrain/Project B/Fishbrain)

Barbara Levine has been collecting photographs for decades. As the co-author of “People Kissing” and “People Knitting,” Levine combs flea markets, giveaway piles and eBay for old photos of anonymous people, which she curates into themed collections.

“I look for patterns and trends the pictures reveal,” Levine, who is based in San Francisco, told The Washington Post. “I consider them artifacts and try to reveal something not seen at first glance.”

The pattern that presented itself for her latest book? Fishing. But not just people fishing — women fishing.


An unidentified woman fishing at Yellowstone National Park, ca. 1895.

“It was amazing to discover we had so many photographs of women fishing and such a diversity of settings and over several decades,” she said.

As it turns out, fishing has a long history as a sport of choice for women. In “A Rod of Her Own: Women and Angling in Victorian North America,” historian David McMurray writes that with fishing, women “could respectably exercise a level of authority, autonomy, and agency within the confines of a patriarchal society.”


Who is she and how is she sitting on a pole? Ca. 1910.

Levine hopes to identify some of the women in her found photographs, and to that end has posted them on the fishing social network Fishbrain. (Yes, there is a social network just for fishers and anglers.) Users have helped her identify locations and time periods — for example, one said a photo marked “Point Isabel” must have been taken before the 1920s, when it became known as Port Isabel — but so far, none of the women have been named.

If you think you may know something about the women in these photos, you can contact Levine and Fishbrain here.

So, are any of these photos of your great-grandma fishing?


An unidentified woman fishing at an unidentified location, ca. 1910. (Project B/Fishbrain/Project B/Fishbrain)

Two unidentified women holding a string of fish, ca. 1912.

This photo postcard shows an unidentified woman fishing off of a pier, ca. 1915. (Project B/Fishbrain/Project B/Fishbrain)

Fishing on a bicycle seems like a bad idea, but this unidentified woman is managing it. Lake Arrowhead, Calif. 1933. (Project B/Fishbrain/Project B/Fishbrain)

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