Margaret Bourke-White (pronounced /ˌbɜrkˈhwaɪt/; June 14, 1904 – August 27, 1971) was an American photographer and photojournalist. Farrah Fawcett starred in a TV movie about her life, Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White (1989).
Margaret Bourke-White was born in the Bronx, New York, to Joseph White (who came from an Orthodox Jewish family) and Minnie Bourke, the daughter of an Irish ship's carpenter and an English cook; she was a Protestant. She grew up in Bound Brook, New Jersey (in a neighborhood now part of Middlesex), but graduated from Plainfield High School. Her father was a naturalist, engineer and inventor. His work improved the four-color printing process that is used for books and magazines. Her mother, Minnie Bourke, was a "resourceful homemaker." Margaret learned perfection from her father; from her mother, she learned the unabashed desire for self-improvement." Margaret's success was not a family fluke. Her older sister, Ruth White, was well known for her work at the American Bar Association in Chicago, Ill., and her younger brother Roger Bourke White became a prominent Cleveland businessman and high-tech industry founder.
In 1922, she began studying herpetology at Columbia University, where she developed an interest in photography after studying under Clarence White (no relation). In 1925, she married Everett Chapman, but the couple divorced two years later. After switching colleges several times (University of Michigan, where she became a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority; Purdue University in Indiana, and Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio), Bourke-White enrolled at Cornell University, lived in Risley Hall, and graduated in 1927. A year later, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she started a commercial photography studio and did architectural and industrial photography. One of her clients was Otis Steel Company.