Wicked Victorian Boston

Elmer Chickering


Elmer Chickering, Boston’s premier portrait photographer, was arrested, in 1887, for producing and selling obscene photographs. The pictures, commissioned by their subjects—young society girls from the upscale, Back Bay neighborhood—recreated classic nude paintings. When their existence became known, Chickering was arrested and charged. He would not reveal the names of his subjects and he was never prosecuted, but the “Giddy Girls of Boston” made the Hub the butt of jokes nationwide.