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Mary Ann Brown Patten

Mary Ann Brown Patten
Unidentified Artist
Mary Ann Brown Patten, 1837 - 18 Mar 1861
c. 1857
Ninth-plate ambrotype
Image: 5.1 x 3.8 cm (2 x 1 1/2")
Glass: 6.3 x 5 cm (2 1/2 x 1 15/16")
Case Open: 7.4 x 12.4 x 0.9 cm (2 15/16 x 4 7/8 x 3/8")
Case Closed: 7.4 x 6.1 x 1.8 cm (2 15/16 x 2 3/8 x 11/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dorthy Knouse Koepke
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Boston, Massachusetts
In 1856, Mary Ann Brown Patten became the first woman to sail a clipper ship around Cape Horn, through the notoriously treacherous waters at the tip of South America. Schooled in navigation by her sea captain husband, she took helm of his ship after he fell seriously ill and the first mate proved untrust- worthy. Only nineteen years old and pregnant at the time, Patten captained the San Francisco-bound Neptune’s Car for fifty-one days, during the most hazardous portion of its 15,000-mile voyage. Upon bringing the vessel safely to its destination, she was hailed for her skill as well as her courage.
Nacida en Boston, Massachusetts
En 1856, Mary Ann Brown Patten fue la primera mujer que dio la vuelta al Cabo de Hornos al timón de un clíper, navegando las traicioneras aguas en el punto más al sur de las Américas. Adiestrada en navegación por su esposo, que era capitán, Patten tomó el mando del barco cuando él cayó enfermo y el segundo de a bordo resultó ineficaz. Con solo 19 años de edad y embarazada, Patten capitaneó el Neptune’s Car hacia San Francisco durante 51 días, en la porción más azarosa de un trayecto de 15,000 millas. Habiendo llegado al puerto sin problemas, Patten fue elogiada por su destreza y su valentía.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits
On View
NPG, East Gallery 134