Margaret Bourke White (June 14, 1906 - August 27, 1971) was an American photographer and photo journalist. She was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in Bound Brook, New Jersey.
In 1922, she began studying herpetology at Columbia University where she developed an interest in photography after studying under Clarence White. In 1925, she married Everett Chapman, but the couple divorced a year later. After switching colleges several times (University of Michigan, Purdue University in Indiana, Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio), Margaret graduated from Cornell University in 1927. A year later, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she became an industrial photographer at the Otis Steel Company.
In 1929, she accepted a job as associate editor for Fortune magazine. In 1930, she became the first Western photographer allowed into the Soviet Union. She was hired by Henry Luc as the first female photojournalist for Life magazine.
During the mid-1930s, Bourke-White, like Dorothea Lange, photographed drought victims of the Dust Bowl. Bourke-White was married to novelist Erskine Caldwell from 1939 to 1942 and together they collaborated on You Have Seen Their Faces (1937).
Bourke-White was the first female war correspondent and the first female to be allowed to work in combat zones during World War II.
During the 1950s, Bourke-White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. She died in Connecticut.
Books by Margaret Bourke-White
You Have Seen Their Faces (1937; with Erskine Caldwell)
North of the Danube (1939; with Erskine Caldwell)
Shooting the Russian War (1942)
They Called it "Purple Heart Valley" (1944)
Halfway to Freedom; a report on the new India (1949)
Portrait of Myself (1963)
Dear Fatherland, rest quietly (1946)
The Taste of War (selections from her writings edited by Jonathon Silverman)