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Mary Patten

Passion Project

Legacy Portrait - Historical




Baltimore, MA


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The Team

Photographer: Gene Sizemore @genesizemore

Mary Patton: Freckled Repunzel (T)

Stylist: Nicole York (T)

Wardrobe: Rose Blackmon (T)

Set Assistant: Tyler Hueffmeier 

Social Media Marketing/Promotion: Alexis Mink

Background: Like many in my generation, I grew up under the glow of Norman Rockwell’s amazing paintings reflecting the American way of life. Of his most famous works, my favorite was the series he did on “The Four Freedoms”.  If you have not seen these paintings, you can view them here

The Series Subject: Like many in my generation, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by very powerful women, women with real superpowers who were more capable than society was willing to recognize, yet they still make incredible magic happen during their life. Both of my grandmothers come to mind, just to begin with. 

To celebrate amazing women with these super powers, I would like to research women from history, who we may not know about, but who displayed incredible superpowers as testimony that women have ALWAYS been capable of so much more than our male centric society gives credit for. 

The Details: To begin this series, I have chosen Mary Patten as my first subject. In 1853, Mary was married to a merchant marine named Captain Joshua Patten. She was accompanying her husband on a second voyage together when he fell deathly ill, and the first mate had been locked in the brig.


Because she spent her time at sea reading all the books on the ship, she became the only person on the ship capable of navigating. In order to protect her husband’s investment, and job.  


Mary stepped up and took command of the four masted tall ship, and sailed safely to complete the voyage. At the age of 19, and a few months pregnant, Mary Patton sailed into the San Francisco bay as the first female in US History to captain a square rigger ship!

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