Celebrating Photojournalist & Author Ruth Gruber’s 102nd Birthday With Her

LIFE magAs some readers of this blog may know, I’ve had the personal and professional privilege to edit and publish photojournalist and author Ruth Gruber’s books over the years. I’ve done six of her eighteen books. Her first publication was a thesis on Virginia Woolf, written in Cologne, Germany in 1931, while an exchange student there. She was then just 20, a young woman from Brooklyn on the verge of what became an amazing career as a refugee advocate, chronicler of the displaced, humanitarian, and journalist. She met with Woolf in London around 1935, a story she’s told in her book Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, which I wrote about at this link on The Great Gray Bridge.

In the early 1940s, Ruth was a member of the FDR administration, under Interior Secretary Harold Ickes as his special field representative in Alaska. She is doubtless one of the administration’s eldest surviving staffers. To read Ruth Gruber’s work I recommend any of the six books I worked on, five of which are currently available from Open Road Integrated Media. The titles are Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 WWII Refugees and How They Came to America; Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent (also the title of a documentary on Ruth); Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel; Raquela: A Woman of Israel; the Virginia Woolf book named above; and Exodus 1947: The Ship that Launched a Nation (the only one of these not available from Open Road, it’s currently published by Union Square Press).

There is also this link to a post I wrote when the International Center of Photography (ICP) gave her their lifetime achievement award in 2012. After a stop in Alaska, the ICP’s exhibit of Ruth’s photojournalism is now traveling the country. The picture above, of an Inuit girl reading LIFE Magazine with Ted Williams on the cover, is part of the ICP exhibit. It is one of her most whimsical; by contrast, she also photographed Holocaust survivors in DP camps after WWII. Those pictures are also part of the ICP exhibit. Here are a dozen pictures from a birthday party that my son Ewan and wife Kyle Gallup attended with me yesterday. (Most pictures by Kyle.)

8 replies
    • Philip Turner says:

      Glad you liked the piece about Valerie, Blanche. You should be able to just choose “Print” under File in your browser. That said though you may end up printing some pages that you don’t need or want, because a print request sweeps up things other than the post itself. If you “subscribe” to my blog, you’ll get an email with each new post, such as the one about Valerie’s below (sans most of the illustrations). That might be easier to print. Best, Philip

  1. dr. ruth samuel tenenholtz says:

    dear Philip- i interviewed Ms. Gruber for my PhD dissertation in 2005 and i teach a course on Jewish identity in literature which is all about her books and the film Haven. I would love for her to know this and how much my students like the course. i posted on her Facebook but received no response. perhaps you can pass on the message to this amazing woman- and mazal tov on her birthday!!! i put a link to your article and photos on my course website.
    I teach literature to students training to be English teachers.
    Shabbath shalom
    Ruth, Haifa, Israel

    • Philip Turner says:

      Dear Dr Tenenholtz, thanks for visiting Ruth Gruber’s Facebook page and my website. I’m glad to know you interviewed her in 2005. I will let her know you’ve been in touch and sent your birthday greetings. Thanks for linking to my posts and photos about Ruth. Best, Philip Turner

  2. dr. ruth samuel tenenholtz says:

    i would love to have a way to share some of the reflections my students write about her work. through you? ruth haifa israel


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  1. […] Gruber, Pioneering Photojournalist; Virginia Woolf and Ruth Gruber, Driven to Create as Women; Celebrating Photojournalist & Author Ruth Gruber’s 102nd Birthday With Her; and Marking Photojournalist Ruth Gruber’s 103rd Birthday. Below are photos I took at […]

  2. […] NY, site of the US Army camp where during WWII nearly 1,000 refugees were brought for sanctuary by Ruth Gruber, then a member of the FDR administration. She chronicled this in her book HAVEN: The Dramatic Story […]

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