This portrait is of Miss Betty Booker, an opera-singer turned boarding house matron, who kept a house on University Avenue for students at UVA for several decades starting in the 1910s. Rufus Holsinger took this photograph 100 years ago today, when Miss Booker was in her late thirties. Miss Booker was one of several women who ran boarding houses near the University in the early Twentieth Century. According to Emma Rathbone, writing in the University of Virginia Magazine, “these women played the part of house mother, adoptive parent and stern Victorian governess, infusing their boarders with the grace and manners of true Southern gentlemen”.
Holsinger photograph courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library. Photo of view from Rotunda steps by Steve Trumbull.