Frink, Maude (later Crawford)

A portrait photographer

May and Maude Frink, twins









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Maude Frink, whose professional name as a California photographer was Dorothy M. Crawford, was born on May 12, 1877 and died on April 30, 1951.  Her niece, Carolyn Converse Misselwitz, wrote this about her in 1978:

“Dorothy M. Crawford was the professional name which Miss Maude Frink chose for herself when she married Mr. Ralph K. Crawford and opened her photographic studio in Burlingame, California, in 1914.  She was not a “woman photographer” (that was before women’s lib), nor an “amateur photographer.”  She loved her work with a passion and would rather work in her dark room any day than eat.  She still did it for a “living” from 1911-1944.  Her photographs cover the first half of this century, with its changing costumes and changing styles in photographic procedures and techniques.

Mrs. Crawford referred to herself as a “portrait photographer” but she also did pictures of streets, buildings, interiors of houses and the gardens of big estates, horses, dogs, copies of paintings, daguerreotypes and whatever photographers do.  During one trip to China and a later tour through Europe, she made many travel type photographs, largely for her own amusement.  She also made some lovely pictures of “The Roost,” her home in San Carlos, and of the views she could see from her hill.

Some of her pictures won state and even national prizes, and were published in newspapers and magazines.  But she was not generally known outside of her own area–Franklin County, Kansas, as Miss Maude Frink, and San Mateo County, California as Dorothy M. Crawford.

Mrs. Crawford was an experienced photographer when she came to Burlingame, since she had already had twelve years of work in that field in Franklin County, Kansas, and had owned her own studio in Ottawa, Kansas, under her maiden name, Maude Frink.

She was born in Brown County, Kansas, on a farm outside of a little town called Fairview.  All four of her grandparents had come to Brown County in northeastern Kansas before the Civil War, moving from the eastern states in covered wagons, as many did, partially for the purpose of being eligible to vote for Kansas as a “Free” State, as opposed to a “slave” State.  They were well established there when she was born in 1877, one of a pair of identical twins , the oldest children of Asa Adelbert Frink and Laura Elizabeth (Beltz) Frink.  Since they were born on May 12, one of the twins was named “May” and the other one “Maude.”  For many years no one exceptt their closest relatives could tell them apart, and until they were both quite elderly, their voices sounded exactly alike.  May Frink, later May Frink Converse, was my Mother;  Maude Frink, to her dying day was as far as I was concerned, “Aunt Maude.”  (My own name is Carolyn Maude.)  There was a slight difference in their temperament, which shows up from their earliest pictures.  May Frink had a rather shy and diffident look and tilted her head slightly to the side, Maude Frink was the more aggressive of the two, with a straightforward look in her eyes.  Before 1900, Fairview, Kansas, had no public high school, so May and Maude were sent to an Academy which was part of a Baptist College in Ottawa, Kansas, known as Ottawa University.  It was at the Academy that these two young women met their future husbands, Asa Finch Converse and Ralph K. Crawford, both residents of Ottawa.  Asa’s mother (Cynthia Caroline Finch Converse) had long been a widow and he had to work his way through school, partly by helping out at the “Ottawa Herald.”

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