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Photographer Elizabeth Menzies Focus on new exhibition at Princeton University

In 1936, three years out of high school and working from her darkroom at home on Prospect Avenue in Princeton, Elizabeth Menzies (1915-2003) sold her first cover photo to the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW). That photo and many others went uncredited. The backs of the prints document a progression from the lightly penciled “Menzies” to a polite “Credit Line Appreciated” to her rubber stamp insisting “Credit Line, Please.”

A new exhibition of Menzies’ work, Credit limit, please: photographs by Elizabeth Menzies, is now open. Curated by Phoebe Nobles (Processing Archivist), Emma Paradies (Library Collections Specialist IV) and Rosalba Varallo Recchia (Library Collections Specialist VI) by Princeton University Librarythe exhibit features dozens of photographs from the university archival collections at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, particularly the Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection and Historical Photograph Collections.

Menzies was both an insider and an outsider. While excluded from the education she documented, she enjoyed privileged access to the campus through her father Alan Menzies, a chemistry professor, and her job at Princeton’s Index of Medieval Art. Her camera was her ticket to lecture halls where, in the words of a PAW editor, students “endured Betty Menzie’s tennis shoes silently padding through the back rows.”

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