Edward Henry Weston was born on March 24, 1886, in Highland Park, Illinois. He was the second child and only son of Edward Burbank Weston, an obstetrician, and Alice Jeanette Brett, a Shakespearean actress. Before his mother's death when Weston was five years old, she urged her son to pursue a practical profession as a businessman. It was Weston's father and sister Mary, nine years his senior, who soon recognized his artistic potential and encouraged him to consider photography. Mary, who was only thirteen at the time of their mother's passing, became the dominant motherly influence in Weston's life. Their father recalled: "they grew up with a double love - that of a mother and son and a sister and brother."