You’re listening to the voice of Margaret Bourke-White, trailblazing American photojournalist and war correspondent. She began taking photographs for Life Magazine starting with the first issue in 1936, a relationship that continued for several decades of her career and the magazine’s tenure. Bourke-White traveled across Depression-era United States, taking photographs of the American South.

Bourke-White famously chronicled the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre during World War II and photographed the social and industrial conditions of Soviet Russia, the first foreign photographer to do so. Wherever she went, she seemed to train her photographer’s eye to the major events of the middle of the 20th century. And most of her accomplishments can not only be denoted as “the first female” photographer, but indeed, as simply, “the first.”

That clip you heard is contained within the Margaret Bourke-White Papers, part of the Special Collections Research Center’s manuscript collections. Check out the SCRC blog for much more at