Story Notes - Ladies' Home Journal
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Ladies' Home Journal

Bubley began freelancing for the Ladies' Home Journal in 1949. Her story on mental illness garnered a prestigious first award from the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri in conjunction with the Encyclopedia Britannica. She continued to freelance for the magazine's series 'How America Lives,' 'How Young America Lives,' and 'Profiles on Youth' in the 1950s and 1960s.
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A Whole Heart for Ramona

Ramona underwent open heart surgery to repair a life threatening heart defect when she was just 6 1/2. At the time of the operation (1958), only a few years after the heart-lung machine was developed, such surgery was new. Doctors started planning weeks in advance. Several highly trained teams of medical and technical personnel were assembled. Blood was carefully typed and matched, and the surgery was performed successfully at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City by medical and technical teams from the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Ladies' Home Journal published this story in February 1959. IBM's Think magazine published a follow-up article "One Heart, Many Hands" in November 1960.
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Wanted: Nine Children/p> Bubley photographed a family with nine children from Fort Dodge, Iowa for The Ladies' Home Journal, How America Lives series. The story was published in June 1951. The family, the paternal grandmother, and two boarders lived in a nine room house and traveled in a '47 Chevy truck. A week's supply of groceries included 63 quarts of milk and 21 loaves of bread. The father, making a career move that was unusual at the time, left his traveling job and started his own business in order to spend more time with the family.

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What Is Mental Illness?

Esther Bubley photographed two jail-like mental hospitals (Pennsylvania State Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital near Trenton, NJ) as well as a more modern facility in Anoka, MN for a four-part series on mental illness that ran in the Ladies' Home Journal from March to June 1949. The images won the coveted first prize for a feature in the "News Picture of the Year" contest sponsored jointly by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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The Roods' Promised Land, from How America Lives

In 1948, the legendary John G. Morris hired Bubley to photograph the Rood family for the Ladies' Home Journal series "How America Lives." It was Bubley's first assignment for Morris, and he accompanied her to make sure she was up to the task. She spent several weeks photographing the family on their farm in Wahoo, Nebraska. During the Great Depression, they had been tenant farmers, but they bought the farm in 1940 with the help of government loans. Within six years, they had paid off their 40 year mortgage, and Bubley documented their new-found prosperity. The story ran in the August issue of the Journal.