As 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.)