Bourke-White, Margaret

born June 14, 1906, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Aug. 27, 1971, Stamford, Conn.

U.S. photographer.

She began her professional career as an industrial and architectural photographer in 1927. She gained a reputation for originality and in 1929 was hired by Henry R. Luce for his magazine Fortune. She covered World War II for Life magazine as the first woman photographer to serve with the U.S. armed forces. Several collections of her photographs have been published, including You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), about sharecroppers of the American South.

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▪ American photographer
original name  Margaret White 
born June 14, 1904, New York, New York, U.S.
died August 27, 1971, Stamford, Conn.
 American photographer known for her contributions to photojournalism.

      Margaret White was the daughter of an engineer-designer in the printing industry. She attended Columbia University (1922–23), the University of Michigan (1923–25), Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), and Cornell University (A.B., 1927). During this period she took up photography, first as a hobby and then, after leaving Cornell and moving to New York City, on a professional freelance basis. She combined her own last name with her mother's maiden name (Bourke) to create her hyphenated professional name. Beginning her career in 1927 as an industrial and architectural photographer, she soon gained a reputation for originality, and in 1929 the publisher Henry Luce hired her for his new Fortune magazine. In 1930 Fortune sent Bourke-White to photograph the Krupp Iron Works in Germany, and she continued on her own to photograph the First Five-Year Plan in the Soviet Union. She became one of the first four staff photographers for Life magazine when it began publication in 1936, and her series of photographs of Fort Peck Dam was featured on the cover and as part of the feature story of the first issue.

      Throughout the 1930s Bourke-White went on assignments to create photo-essays in Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Dust Bowl in the American Midwest. These experiences allowed her to refine the dramatic style she had used in industrial and architectural subjects. These projects also introduced people and social issues as subject matter into her oeuvre, and she developed a compassionate, humanitarian approach to such photos. In 1935 Bourke-White met the Southern novelist Erskine Caldwell (Caldwell, Erskine), to whom she was married from 1939 to 1942. The couple collaborated on three illustrated books: You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), about Southern sharecroppers; North of the Danube (1939), about life in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi takeover; and Say, Is This the U.S.A. (1941), about the industrialization of the United States.

      Bourke-White covered World War II for Life and was the first woman photographer attached to the U.S. armed forces. While crossing the Atlantic to North Africa her transport ship was torpedoed and sunk, but Bourke-White survived to cover the bitter daily struggle of the Allied infantrymen in the Italian campaign. She then covered the siege of Moscow and, toward the end of the war, she crossed the Rhine River into Germany with General George Patton's Third Army troops. Her photographs of the emaciated inmates of concentration camps and of the corpses in gas chambers stunned the world.

      After World War II, Bourke-White traveled to India to photograph Mahatma Gandhi and record the mass migration caused by the division of the Indian subcontinent into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. During the Korean War she worked as a war correspondent and traveled with South Korean troops.

      Stricken with Parkinson disease in 1952, Bourke-White continued to photograph and write. She retired from Life magazine in 1969.

Additional Reading
Vicki Goldberg, Margaret Bourke-White: A Biography (1986); Sean Callahan (ed.), The Photographs of Margaret Bourke-White (1972, reissued 1975); Theodore M. Brown, Margaret Bourke-White, Photojournalist (1972).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET — (Peg; 1904–1971), U.S. photojournalist. Bourke White was the daughter of Minnie Bourke, who was Irish English and a Catholic, and Joseph White, formerly Weiss, from an Orthodox Polish family. Born in the Bronx, the pioneering photographer, whose… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bourke-White,Margaret — Bourke White (bûrkʹhwītʹ, wītʹ), Margaret. 1906 1971. American photographer and writer. An editor of Life magazine (1936 1969), she photographed such diverse subjects as the rural South, Soviet life, and the release of concentration camp victims …   Universalium

  • Bourke-White, Margaret — (1904 1971)    Margaret White (she later added her mother’s name) was born in New York City. She studied at the University of Michigan and Cornell University, where she graduated with a degree in biology in 1927. She had already begun to develop… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Bourke-White, Margaret — (14 jun. 1906, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–27 ago. 1971, Stamford, Conn.). Fotógrafa estadounidense. Inició su carrera profesional como fotógrafa industrial y de arquitectura en 1927. Adquirió fama por su originalidad, y en 1929 fue contratada por… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Margaret Bourke-White — Bourke White at home, 1964 Margaret Bourke White (  / …   Wikipedia

  • Margaret Bourke-White — April 1945: Margaret Bourke White vor Leichen im KZ Buchenwald; Foto von Lieutenant Colonel Parke O. Yingst …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Margaret bourke-white — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bourke (homonymie) et White. Margaret Bourke White, à son domicile, en janvier 1964 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Margaret Bourke-White — en su casa en 1964. Margaret Bourke White (1904 1971) nació en Nueva York el 14 de junio de 1904. Se interesó por la fotografía cuando estudiaba en la Universidad de Cornell. Fue alumna de Clarence H. White en la Universidad de Columbia y después …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bourke-White —   [ bəːk waɪt], Margaret, amerikanische Fotojournalistin, * New York 14. 6. 1904, ✝ Stamford (Connecticut) 27. 8. 1971; arbeitete 1936 42 für die Illustrierte »Life«. Sie verfasste eine Reportage über das KZ Buchenwald (1945) und stellte Serien… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Bourke-White — [bʉrk΄hwīt′] Margaret 1906 71; U.S. photojournalist …   English World dictionary

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