HATTIE FARRINGTON WAS BORN IN 1881 as Hattie Jane Hays. She graduated from high school at 16 and began teaching in Clarksburg, Mo. After several years of teaching, she decided to go back to school. She earned a degree in commerce from Clarksburg College in 1902. Although she then began teaching business courses at Clarksburg College, she resigned in December of that year to marry Frank Farrington, a physician. They moved to Greentop, Mo., near Kirksville, so he could start a practice and they could start a family.
After Farrington’s girls were in school, she began spending more time on her own hobbies. She enjoyed the piano, photography and quilting. She even once taught herself how to play the clarinet since the town wanted to create an orchestra and nobody knew how to play one.
Farrington had a habit of simply teaching herself whatever it was she was interested in doing. One of those skills was photography. In the early 20th century, photography tended to be a more formal endeavor than we think of it today. Very few women were photographers and it was quite rare to see unposed, casual images of family and friends. Farrington, however, used photography to capture the everyday joys of her life; her children playing, her husband riding his horse, or the family dog doing tricks. Her images give us a visual glimpse into the everyday life of a family in rural Missouri early in the 20th century.