The Grandmother Winifred Portraits

In 1996, Robert Giard was commissioned to photograph the 321 grant recipients of The Thanks Be To Grandmother Winifred Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of Deborah Ann Light who, using her family inheritance, wished to “encourage individual mature women to achieve goals that would enrich the lives of other adult women.” Grant applicants had to be at least 54 years old and describe a project that benefited adult women. Ultimately, the recipients came from all over the United States. Robert Giard traveled around the country from 1996 until his death in 2002, managing in that time to photograph 241 of the Grandmother Winifred grant recipients. Their projects ranged from research in the area of feminist scholarship and the production of artistic projects in various media, to providing social, cultural, and health services to women living within a given locality. The archives of the The Thanks Be to Grandmother Winifred Foundation, which is no longer in operation, are preserved in the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Robert Giard’s journals of his travels during the period of this commission, documenting each visit to a grant recipient, are held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, along with the rest of his photographs and papers.