Margaret Bourke-White

media-23745.jpeg UPL 23745 "Trailblazer: American photographer and journalist Margaret Bourke-White was the country's first accredited female photographer during WWII, and the first authorized to fly on a combat mission"

Object Number - UPL 23745 - "Trailblazer: American photographer and journalist Margaret Bourke-White was the country's first accredited female photographer during WWII, and the...

American photographer and documentary photographer. She is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry, the firsthand American female war photojournalist, and the first female photographer for Henry Luce's Life magazine, where her photograph appeared on the first cover.

Bourke-White was the first female war correspondent and the first woman to be allowed to work in combat zones during World War II. In 1941, she traveled to the Soviet Union just as Germany broke its pact of non-aggression. She was the only foreign photographer in Moscow when German forces invaded. Taking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, she then captured the ensuing firestorms on camera.

As the war progressed, she was attached to the U.S. Army Air Force in North Africa, then to the U.S. Army in Italy and later in Germany. She repeatedly came under fire in Italy in areas of fierce fighting.

"The woman who had been torpedoed in the Mediterranean, strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on an Arctic island, bombarded in Moscow, and pulled out of the Chesapeake when her chopper crashed, was known to the Life staff as 'Maggie the Indestructible.' " This incident in the Mediterranean refers to the sinking of the England-Africa bound British troopship SS Strathallan that she recorded in an article, "Women in Lifeboats", in Life, February 22, 1943. She was disliked by General Dwight D Eisenhower, but was friendly with his chauffeur/secretary, Irishwoman Kay Summersby, with whom she shared the lifeboat.

In the spring of 1945, she traveled throughout a collapsing Germany with Gen. George S. Patton. She arrived at Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp, and later said, "Using a camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me." After the war, she produced a book entitled, Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly, a project that helped her come to grips with the brutality she had witnessed during and after the war.


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Units served with

The insignia of the 8th Air Force.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Command
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Combat organisation


  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Konzentrationslager Buchenwald


Event Location Date Description


Bronx, NY, USA 14 June 1904 Daughter of Joseph Whites and Minnie Bourke. Born Magaret White.


Stamford, CT, USA 27 August 1971 Died of Parkinson's disease.

Margaret Bourke-White: Gallery (2 items)