Bayard Wootten, Esteemed Photographer, of Chapel Hill and New Bern

An image of Wootten from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill

An image of Wootten from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill

On April 6, 1959, pioneering photographer Bayard Wootten died in New Bern.

Born in New Bern in 1875, Wootten left the area to attend college in Greensboro and then teach. She returned to New Bern to help family members. Once back, she did design work to support her family, eventually creating Pepsi-Cola’s first trademarked logo. She embraced photography in 1904 and, after displaying her first photograph that year, orders for her work began to roll in.

After working for the National Guard as photographer and director of publicity, she turned to aerial photography in 1919, taking pictures of New Bern and the Neuse River in a Wright Brothers plane.

Wootten moved to New York, and after a brief stint there and running a statewide portrait photographic service, she settled in Chapel Hill in 1928. She would remain there until her retirement in 1954. During her time there she received frequent invitations to exhibit her work, and assembled popular slide presentations based on her architectural and landscape photography. She also illustrated books for UNC Press, Houghton Mifflin and J.B. Lippincott publishers during that time.

Shortly after her retirement she returned to New Bern where she died five years later.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Library has collected a number of biographical materials and photographs associated with Wootten on this page.

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