Margaret Bourke-White - Tours of Cleveland, LLC

Margaret Bourke-White

Photographer Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White is known as a pioneer in industrial photography. She was born in New York City in 1904 and graduated from Cornell in 1927. She moved to Cleveland to be near her mother and this is where her interest in industrial photography began.

Cleveland Years

She went to the owner of the Otis Steel Company, Elroy Kulas and asked if she could photograph his plant. He loved her photos so much he used them in the publication sent to his share holders. Bourke-White would go on to photograph Terminal Tower. In fact, the Cleveland Museum of Art has many of her photos in their collection. She called the Flats in Cleveland a “photographic paradise”!

Terminal Tower photo by Margaret Bourke-White
A photo in the Cleveland Museum of Art collection by Bourke-White

Traveling the World

Margaret Bourke-White would be called back to New York to work for Fortune magazine. She documented the construction of the Chrysler Building. She would be the first photographer to be granted unlimited access in the Soviet Union. During her time in the Soviet Union she began to explore photographing people.

A photo titled “Kentucky Flood” from 1937 was published in Life Magazine. It depicts African American flood victims waiting in line for assistance beneath a billboard declaring America’s highest standard of living with a white family pictured. She would later be a photo journalist during WWII and would photograph Gandhi multiple times, with her last photos taken hours before he was assassinated. She passed in 1971 at age 67 in Connecticut.

Kentucky Flood 1937 by Margaret Bourke-White
Kentucky Flood by Bourke-White

Who We Are

Tours of Cleveland, LLC celebrates Women’s History Month, by looking at famous women of Cleveland and their accomplishments. Tours of Cleveland, LLC offers year round exciting and educational waking tours of beautiful and historic downtown Cleveland. Learn more, see our schedule and book your walking tour at