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Tom Howard's Ankle Camera
1928

Captured the first-ever electrocution of a woman in the United States
News photographer Tom Howard used this ankle-mounted camera to capture a picture of the first American woman, Ruth Snyder, ever to be electrocuted. It happened at Sing Sing Prison in New York on January 12, 1928. Although photographers were barred from the electrocution, the New York "Daily News" knew the Chicago-based Howard would be unknown to the local police and prison officials. For the occasion, Howard modified his miniature plate camera to fit secretly around his ankle, and then rigged a long shutter release to go up his pant leg. Allowed in as one of the witnesses to the electrocution, Howard waited for the right moment, lifted his pant leg, reached into his pocket to release the shutter--and made news photography history.

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