Focusing on African Safaris: The Edith McChesney Ker Collection

Photography is traditionally a profession dominated by men, but one of SC&A’s photography collections is the life work of a fascinating woman, Edith McChesney Ker.  Originally from Virginia, Edith’s life took an unexpected turn while  on an African safari in 1958.  While in Kenya, she met and fell in love with her future husband, Donald Ker, owner of Ker & Downey Safaris.  Edith later moved to Kenya to be with Donald and became an avid photographer of wildlife and nature.  The East African Wildlife Society used more than 50 of her photographs for their Christmas cards and calendars.  Furthermore, some of her photographs have been used in educational books for children.

After Donald’s death in 1981, Edith traveled around the world, capturing her adventures through photography. Many of the photographs in the Edith Ker Collection document these adventures.   However, some of my favorite images come from early years in Africa.

Rhinoceros and bird in Amboseli, Kenya

Rhinoceros and bird in Amboseli, Kenya

Elephants in an unknown river

Elephants in an unknown river

Crocodile in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Crocodile in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Zebra

Zebra in unknown location

Although Edith photographed all different types of animals, I especially like the photographs featuring lions.

Lion cub in Tanzania

Lion cub in Tanzania

Lion pride in Talek, Kenya

Lion pride in Talek, Kenya

Lion pride in unknown location

Lion pride in unknown location

League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area

A new revised finding aid for the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is now available. The records contain materials from the LWVFA’s activities from 1948-2008, including studies, information on political issues, meeting minutes, newsletters, correspondence, and photographs. The collection also contains memorabilia, such as the item below.

Pennant, League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, undated

Pennant, League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, undated

Mother Martha

March is Women’s History Month, so my blog posts for this month will highlight SC&A’s collections that feature outstanding achievements by women.

The Martha Pennino Papers document Pennino’s community activism and political career in Northern Virginia.

Martha V. Pennino (1918-2004)

Martha V. Pennino (1918-2004)

The collection, featuring photographs, working papers, newspaper clips, and memorabilia, shows why Martha was affectionately known as “Mother Martha.”  She devoted much of her adult life to the betterment of Fairfax Country by serving on the Fairfax Country Board of Supervisors for over 20 years. She championed funding for education, transportation, and business development.  She was particularly involved in the growth and development of Fairfax County’s planned community, Reston, Virginia.

Martha with John Glenn

Martha with John Glenn in 1967

A woman pioneer in Northern Virginia politics,  Martha was first elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in November 1967, representing what was then the Centreville District. She served as vice chairman for a total of 17 years.   At times she was the only woman serving on the board.

Martha at the Reston Community Center Dedication

Martha at the Reston Community Center Dedication in 1979

Serving the community

Serving the community

Martha waving to supporters

Martha waving to supporters

Martha passed away in 2004 but leaves a long and distinguished legacy in Fairfax County.