Spot The Woman

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For much of history, women have been forced to occupy a position one notch lower than that of men. This is very apparent when you look at old photographs of academicians and professionals posing in groups—class pictures of school, association, company, office, club, court, government body and political movement. An overwhelming majority of these groups were all male. But sometimes you can espy a single woman sneaking in from behind.

When American documentary filmmaker Immy Humes trawled through the archives, she felt like playing “Where’s Waldo?”.

“I found pleasure in spotting these solitary women, and then, most of all, unraveling the mystery of them: What were they doing there?,” writes Immy Humes in her new book The Only Woman, which collects one hundred photographs of groups of men—artists, workers, musicians, dentists, lawyers—with only a single woman. These pictures span more than a century and a half, from 1862 to 2020, and were taken in 20 countries. Can you spot the woman in these photographs?

Medical student Anna Searcy in 1897

Medical student Anna Searcy in 1897

Artist Hedda Sterne in 1951

Artist Hedda Sterne in 1951

Anti-imperialist Geraldine "Dinah" Stock, circa 1945

Anti-imperialist Geraldine “Dinah” Stock, circa 1945

Unknown nurse in Boston, Massachusetts, 1890

Unknown nurse in Boston, Massachusetts, 1890

Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, in 1975

Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, in 1975

Martha Gellhorn, War Correspondent, Cassino, Italy, 1944

Martha Gellhorn, War Correspondent, Cassino, Italy, 1944

Benazir Bhutto, Politician, Pakistan, 1988

Benazir Bhutto, Politician, Pakistan, 1988

Graciela, a pioneering Afro-Cuban jazz singer, at a concert in New York, New York, US, 1947

Graciela, a pioneering Afro-Cuban jazz singer, at a concert in New York, New York, US, 1947

Gloria Richardson, Civil-rights leaders meet with Robert F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1963

Gloria Richardson, Civil-rights leaders meet with Robert F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1963

Mia Westerlund Roosen. Artists celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, 1982

Mia Westerlund Roosen. Artists celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, 1982

Lisette Dammas, jury for the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, New York City, 1951

Lisette Dammas, jury for the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, New York City, 1951

Lil Hardin, musician and songwriter, in Chicago, USA, 1923

Lil Hardin, musician and songwriter, in Chicago, USA, 1923

Marie Curie, physicist and chemist, in Brussels, Belgium, 1911

Marie Curie, physicist and chemist, in Brussels, Belgium, 1911

Athlete Kathrine Switzer in 1967

Athlete Kathrine Switzer in 1967

Actress Marlene Dietrich in Europe in 1945

Actress Marlene Dietrich in Europe in 1945

Peruvian journalist Angela Ramos in 1929

Peruvian journalist Angela Ramos in 1929

Civil rights leader Gloria Richardson in Cambridge, Maryland, 1963

Civil rights leader Gloria Richardson in Cambridge, Maryland, 1963

Boxing promoter Florence North in 1922

Boxing promoter Florence North in 1922



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