Late deafened. Born in Deerfield, MA; attended Deerfield Academy, then became a teacher at several schools. During her 30s, progressive deafness became profound, forcing her to give up teaching. With her also-deaf sister Frances, Mary began exploring the artistic possibilities of photography. Together they took thousands of photographs that were widely exhibited and some published in books and journals. By the 1920s, Frances had become blind as well, and the sisters' style of photography fell out of favor. Mary cared for Frances during their last years, and died only 4 days after her sister. A exhibition of Frances' and Mary's photographs was at Gallaudet University in 2006, and a book about them is The Allen Sisters: Pictorial Photographs 1885-1920 (2006). The photographs are preserved in Memoiral Hall Museum at Deerfield.
Deaf Artists in America, p.61-67.
1858-18 February 1941