Born in Bronx (New York) on June 14, 1904, she was the daughter of Joseph White and Minnie Bourke. Her father was a naturalist, engineer and inventor; her mother, a resourceful homemaker. She learned from her father perfection; from her mother, the unabashed desire for self-improvement. Married in 1924 to Everett Chapman. Divorced in 1926, she escaped to the security of Cornell University to complete her education.
She first gained recognition as an industrial photographer based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her pioneering photographs of steel mill interiors came to the attention of Henry Luce. He brought her to New York to work on Fortune, a magazine drenched in the romance of industry.
Then as a photojournalist who emphasized the human side of the news as seen in the pages of LIFE, another Henry Luce production. As a founding mother of LIFE (she shot the first cover ), she became a world-famous symbol of swashbuckling photography.
Bourke-White's second marriage was to Erskine Caldwell, the novelist, in 1939. This marriage ended in divorce in 1942. She had no children.,more » « less
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