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Arnold, Eve (21 April 1912–04 January 2012), photojournalist, was born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the seventh of nine children of the Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Vevel (William) Sklarski, a rabbi, and Bosya (Bessie) Laschiner. Although Eve’s parents were poor she received a good basic education. Eve first considered a career as a writer or a dancer, then settled on medicine, but she gave this up to move to New York City. During World War II she got a job at America’s first automated photographic film processing plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, although she knew little about photography then. It was only in 1946 when her then boyfriend gave her a forty-dollar Rolleicord camera that she took up photography as a hobby. The boyfriend did not last long, but her love of photography grew into a highly successful and fulfilling career....

Article

Bourke-White, Margaret (14 June 1904–27 August 1971), pioneer photojournalist and industrial photographer, was born in New York City, the daughter of Joseph Edward White, an amateur photographer and an engineer and inventor for a printing press manufacturer, and Minnie Bourke, a teacher. Originally using the name Margaret White, she added her mother’s maiden name in 1927....

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Margaret Bourke-White. Gelatin silver print, c. 1952, by Thomas J. Abercrombie. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Article

Coolidge, Dane (24 March 1873–08 August 1940), novelist, naturalist, and photographer, was born in Natick, Massachusetts, the son of Francis Coolidge, a corporal in the Civil War and, later, an orange grower in California, and Sophia Upham Whittemore. He moved with his family in 1877 to Los Angeles, where he roamed the fields and mountains around that still-small town and grew up a Republican and a Unitarian. Coolidge graduated from Stanford University in 1898, then studied biology at Harvard University from 1898 to 1899 before returning to the West....

Article

Day, F. Holland (23 July 1864–06 November 1933), publisher, photographer, and bibliophile, was born Fred Holland Day in Norwood, Massachusetts, the son of Lewis Day, an industrialist, and Anna Smith. The only child of wealthy parents, young Day was educated largely by private tutors. The family split their time between their Norwood house and an apartment in Boston, at that time considered the Athens of America. At fifteen Day accompanied his mother to Denver, where she recuperated from a lung disease. It was in Denver that he made his first sustained contact with a large colony of Chinese, and their art and material culture made a lasting impact on him. He began to draw with Chinese inks and brushes and purchased many Chinese artifacts; he remained fascinated by Oriental culture to his dying day. This fascination was abetted by the world-class Oriental collections at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts....

Article

Eisenstaedt, Alfred (06 December 1898–23 August 1995), photographer and photojournalist, was born in Dirschau, West Prussia, a former German territory (today Tczew, Poland), the son of Joseph Eisenstaedt, a wealthy department store owner, and Regina Schoen. Little is known of Eisenstaedt’s early youth, but the family moved from Dirschau to Berlin-Wilmersdorf in 1906. Eisenstaedt attended the local Hohenzollern Gymnasium. At the age of fourteen he received his first camera, an Eastman Folding Pocket Kodak, which was given to him as a birthday present by his uncle. While still a student Eisenstaedt started taking pictures as a hobby....

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Lynes, George Platt (15 April 1907–06 December 1955), publisher and photographer, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, the son of Joseph R. Lynes, a clergyman, and Adelaide Sparkman. Aspiring to a literary career, at age eighteen Lynes wrote to Gertrude Stein, beginning a long correspondence. In 1925 he visited her and ...

Article

Morris, Wright (06 January 1910–25 April 1998), writer, was born Wright Marion Morris in Central City, Nebraska, to William Henry Morris, a railroad employee and failed chicken farmer, and his wife, Ethel Grace Osborn Morris. His mother died when Wright was only six days old, and his father, who was something of a ladies' man, had a series of girlfriends who were indifferent to his son. When Wright was eight, his father married a teenage dancer who soon abandoned the family. Father and son then moved around the state several times before settling in Omaha in 1919....

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Jacob A. Riis Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113814).

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Riis, Jacob August (03 May 1849–26 May 1914), journalist and social reformer, was born in Ribe, Denmark, the son of Niels Edward Riis, a Latin teacher, and Carolina Lundholm. After studying in his father’s school, Riis was apprenticed for four years to a carpenter in Copenhagen. Unable to find steady employment and spurned by Elisabeth Gortz, the young woman who in 1876 would marry him, Riis emigrated in 1870 to the United States. For the rest of his life he regularly compared the sociability and the close relationships of life in Ribe with the impersonality and harsh precariousness of American urban life....

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Alfred Stieglitz Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103681).

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Stieglitz, Alfred (01 January 1864–13 July 1946), photographer and editor, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Edward (originally Ephraim) Stieglitz, a German-born wool merchant, and Hedwig Werner. Stieglitz grew up in an affluent, cultured family who felt at home on two continents. After his family moved to New York City, Alfred was educated at the Charlier Institute, Townsend Harris High School, and the City College of New York, where he was ranked consistently as one of the top ten students in his class. By 1881 his father, a Civil War veteran, had made a fortune that enabled him to retire and take his family to Europe, where he provided his children the best possible continental education....

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Carl Van Vechten Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 1122 P&P).

Article

Van Vechten, Carl (17 June 1880–21 December 1964), writer and photographer, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Charles Duane Van Vechten, a banker and insurance agent, and Ada Amanda Fitch. Van Vechten entered the University of Chicago in 1899 and graduated in 1903, whereupon he went to work as a society reporter and photographer for the ...