Arnold Genthe (German-American, 1869–1942)

Genthe’s photographs were some of the first of modernizing and industrializing San Francisco. Born in Germany, he followed his father into academia, receiving a doctorate in philology in 1894 from the University of Jena. He moved to the US as a tutor and taught himself photography. Intrigued by the Chinese section of San Francisco, Genthe photographed its inhabitants. Around 200 of his Chinatown pictures survive as the only known photographs of the neighborhood before the 1906 earthquake. Later in life, he worked primarily in portraiture, with Greta Garbo, John D. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson sitting for him, as well as famous dancers Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, and Ruth St. Denis.