Belle Johnson (August 4, 1864 – July 19, 1945) was an American photographer, active primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Described as “eccentric, independent and unorthodox,” Johnson was a charter member of the Federation of Women Photographers, and has been inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame. Her work, which included character studies, photographs of animals (especially cats), and still lifes, won numerous awards and frequently appeared in contemporary photography journals in the early 1900s.
Johnson was born in Mendota, Illinois, to George C. Johnson, a successful farmer, and his wife, Hanna. She attended Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, from 1882 to 1884, graduating at the top of her class. Afterward, she worked as a teacher, but found it unfulfilling.