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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET (14 June 1904-27 Aug. 1971), was a prominent photojournalist who began her career in Cleveland. Born in New York, she graduated from Cornell University in 1927 and after a failed first marriage came to Cleveland, where her widowed mother had moved. Here she explored the FLATS, which she called "a photographic paradise,'' and photographed stately homes for the local social publication Town & Country Club News. She also photographed the newly completed Terminal Tower, where she opened her first studio. Her curiosity and interest in steelmaking led her to seek permission from ELROY J. KULAS† to photograph in his mill, the Otis Steel Co. Pleased with the results, Kulas had them published in The Story of Steel, a booklet distributed to Otis Steel stockholders.

Bourke-White left Cleveland for New York in 1929 when Henry Luce hired her for his new publication, Fortune, on the basis of her steel pictures. He later chose her as one of the 4 original staff photographers for Life. Ultimately, Bourke-White became the first woman accredited as a war correspondent (1942), traveled with Gen. Geo. Patton's 3d Army through Germany (1945); and photographed Gandhi in India a few hours before his assassination (1948). She married novelist Erskine Caldwell in 1939 but was divorced in 1942. She died at the age of 67 in Stamford, Conn.

Last Modified: 13 May 1998 11:21:22 AM

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