Esther Bubley (1921–1998) was born in Phillips, Wisconsin, the fourth of five children of Russian Jewish immigrants. In 1936, while Esther was a senior at Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, the photo magazine Life first hit the newsstands. Inspired by the magazine, and particularly by the pictures of the Great Depression produced by the Farm Security Administration, she developed a passion for photojournalism and documentary photography. In the fall of 1942, Roy Stryker hired her as a darkroom assistant at the Office of War Information (OWI), where his photographic unit had recently been transferred from the Farm Security Administration. With the encouragement of Stryker and some of the more senior photographers she moved to taking pictures for the OWI historical section, documenting life on the home front during the war. Her most challenging assignment was a noted series on the bus system in the Midwest and South. (Photo shot in Washington, DC, USA 1943. Photo sponsor: Holmes B. Smoot.)


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