1. First aerial photograph
In 1858, Gaspard Felix Tournachon, a French author and artist who went by the pen name of Félix Nadar, went up to the top of the tether in a balloon, overlooking the Bievre Valley in France and took the world’s first aerial photograph.
2. First Christmas card
John Calcott was hired by a wealthy businessman to create a holiday card that he could send to all of his friends to wish them a Merry Christmas. The businessman wanted a nice card that he could send that would save him time from handwriting each a personal note. The card had three panels and read, “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you,” and 1,000 copies of this card were printed.
3. First recognized female painter
Sofonisba Anguissola was the first woman to gain distinction as a painter in 1559. Self portraits and members of her own family were her most frequent subjects as she was restricted from studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes). After studying with many painters, including Bernardino Gatti (known as Il Sojaro), Sofonisba’s apprenticeships set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art.
4. First sculptor of an American coin
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, from Cornish, New Hampshire, was the first sculptor to design an American coin. His commission became fraught with difficulties related to Saint-Gaudens’ desire for high relief relative to the demands of mass production and use. Even so, Saint-Gaudens referred to his early relief portraits as “medallions.” His $20 gold piece, the double eagle coin designed for the U.S. Mint, 1905–1907, though it was adapted for minting, is still considered the most beautiful American coin ever issued.
5. First photographer to hire Marilyn Monroe as a model
Dissatisfied with the restrictions of fashion photography, Andre de Dienes moved to Hollywood in 1944 to pursue his real passion of photographing nudes and outdoor scenes. De Dienes’ association with Marilyn Monroe began in 1945 when he hired her for her first modeling job at age 19. A five-week road trip photographing the young Norma Jean across California, Nevada, and New Mexico resulted in a love affair and numerous magazine covers around the world. Their working relationship continued until 1953. Today, de Dienes’ images of Monroe are considered by most to be the best studies ever taken of her.
6. First clothing designer to use labels
Born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Charles Frederick Worth made his mark in the FrenchLondon drapery shops before moving to Paris in 1846. Much of his work is associated with the movement to redefine the female fashionable shape, removing excessive ruffles and frills and using rich fabrics in simple but flattering outlines. He is credited as the first designer to put labels onto the clothing he manufactured. fashion industry. He worked at several prosperous