Gertrude Stanton was born 18 May 1852 in Fort Des Moines, grew up as a child in the wild west plains of Iowa and Colorado until enrolling in the Moravian College for Women in Bethlehem, PA. After moving with her mother to Brooklyn NY, at the age of 22 in 1873, she married a financially comfortable businessman, Edward Käsebier. It was not to be an agreeable marriage for her so by 1880, they led separate lives, divorce being considered scandalous in those times.
After raising their three children she became a student at the Pratt Institute in 1888 where she studied painting and photography, later studying in France and Germany.
She opened a portrait studio in New York in 1897, switched to photography, saying:
"I earnestly advise women of artistic tastes to train for the unworked field of modern photography. It seems to be especially adapted to them, and the few who have entered it are meeting a gratifying and profitable success."
Gertrude Käsebier, Evelyn Nesbit, 1903