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Margaret Bourke-White In Print: An Exhibition Exhibition at Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Jersey January-June 2006 Gary D. Saretzky, Guest Curator In 1936, New Jersey-raised Margaret Bourke-White was named one of the ten most prominent women in America and, among the general public, was probably the best known photographer, male or female. At that time, she had written and published only one book illustrated with her photographs but her images had appeared in forty-five issues of Fortune magazine, as well as numerous other magazines and books.1 As a result of the substantial number of articles by and about her, her name was used to market the publications in which her work appeared and she became the first photographer who had sufficient celebrity status to earn money by endorsing non-photographic products in print and on the radio: Maxwell House, the Victor Library of Recorded Music, Camel cigarettes, and wine.2 Although few of her pictures had appeared on the walls of museums or art galleries, in the following year, 1937, she was included in the first major photography exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.3 Unlike prominent photographers today, who often become known through exhibitions and exhibition reviews by critics writing in art magazines and metropolitan newspapers, Bourke-White became prominent through her commercial success and because, as an attractive young woman in a maledominated profession, she was newsworthy: “Now at 26, her income is $50,000 per year,� wrote Time on December 14, 1931, during the early years of the Great Depression. By the time Margaret Bourke-White wrote and published her autobiography, Portrait of Myself, in 1963, her last and tenth book, nearly sixty major articles had been writ- 1 Theodore M. Brown, Margaret Bourke-White: Photojournalist (Cornell University: Ithaca, 1972). Bibliography on pages 109-119. 2 Vicki Goldberg, Margaret Bourke-White: A Biography (NY: Harper & Row, 1986),138, 194-195. 3 Beaumont Newhall, Photography, 1839-1937. NY: MOMA, 1937.

Margaret Bourke-White In Print: An Exhibition

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