Famed for her photos of emaciated survivors found inside Nazi concentration camps, among many other historic images, Margaret Bourke-White was also the first female American foreign war correspondent allowed in combat zones.
The trailblazing Life magazine photojournalist—dubbed “Maggie the Indestructible” after surviving multiple brushes with death during World War II—is one of the nine female war correspondents featured in “Women Who Brought the War Home,” an exhibit at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale.
“The legacy is in the imagery and the text,” said Julia Lauria-Blum, who was inspired to curate the exhibit eight years ago after reading The Women Who Wrote the War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel.
Lauria-Blum shared their stories as the museum hosted busloads of World War II veterans and their families who came for the opening of the permanent exhibit over the Memorial Day Weekend, ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day next week.
The exhibit includes a mannequin depicting a female war correspondent in an authentic encampment surrounded by period memorabilia, such as an antique typewriter and camera, with photographs borrowed from the National Archives. A dedication to nine of the featured women is displayed adjacent to the encampment, showcasing their pictures and biographies of their accomplishments. Lauria-Blum noted how the women gave voice to World War II through fearless and riveting reporting and photography.
It is in those stories where the true meaning can be found, said Lauria-Blum while dressed in WWII-era military attire along with more than a dozen volunteers also sharing stories with museum visitors. Without them, she adds, the artifacts that the museum collects are just “lifeless memorabilia without the stories behind them.”