Exhibition - This is the Original and Only Harry Shepherd

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018 at 9:00am


This is the Original and Only Harry Shepherd: African American Photography Pioneer.

On Tuesday, October 26, 1897 The Nashville American published a list of “Awards for Excellence of Exhibits” at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Among the Decorative Arts winners was a black photographer from St. Paul, Minnesota, named Harry Shepherd.

By the time of this award, Harry Shepherd was nationally noted for his photography and activism. His profitable St. Paul studio served clientele of all races including the Minnesota State Legislature, educator Booker T. Washington, and Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. In 1899, his seminal photo collage, Our Unsung Heroes, created a visual interpretation of African-American history demanding social equality. This work attracted the attention of activist W.E.B. Dubois and others who selected Shepherd to be an official photographer for the landmark American Negro Exhibit at the 1900 Paris International Exposition.

With its title taken from a slogan printed on his Victorian era cabinet cards, This is the Original and Only Harry Shepherd celebrates Shepherd’s story and work with enlarged reproductions from the collections of Library of Congress and the Minnesota Historical Society, and video from the Minnesota Public Television documentary, Harry Shepherd: Portrait of Progress.

The Parthenon invites you to This is the Original and Only Harry Shepherd.

The exhibit will open on Saturday, March 31st, and remain in the Parthenon’s West Gallery through Sunday, July 8th.


Admission to the Parthenon is $6 for adults; $4 for seniors 62 and over; and $4 for children 4-17. Children under 4 are admitted free.

Admission includes access to all exhibitions and the Parthenon’s upper level, graced by the colossal statue of the goddess Athena.