#100DaysofVimy – March 15th, 2017

Each Wednesday we will highlight the women of the First World War. Today:

Elsie Holloway

Elsie Holloway’s portrait photograph of her own brother Lieutenant Robert Palfrey (Bert) Holloway, upon enlisting with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 1915. Elsie’s portraits of the “First Five Hundred” of Newfoundland’s volunteers are held at The Rooms in St. John’s.
Courtesy: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division, E 11-13 / / Holloway Studio.

Elsie Holloway was the daughter of Robert Edwards Holloway, a well-known photographer in Newfoundland & Labrador. Following the death of their father, Elsie and her brother Bert opened their own photography studio in 1908. By the outbreak of war, Holloway Studio had become revered for Elsie’s portrait photography. As volunteers flocked to the recruiting offices, they also came to the Holloway Studio at the corner of Bates Hill and Henry Street, eager to be photographed in their new uniforms.

Elsie’s work in those first months of the war has become an invaluable record of Newfoundland’s “First Five Hundred” – the volunteers who formed the first contingent of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The majority of the First Five Hundred would not survive the attrition of the Regiment’s war experiences; the Holloway Studio portraits being the sole surviving record of their youth. Even Elsie’s family would not be spared the sorrow, her brother Bert being killed at the Battle of Monchy-le-Preux in 1917.