Story Notes - Life Magazine
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Life Magazine

During the 1950s Esther Bubley's photo-essays frequently appeared in Life Magazine. Her work includes two cover stories and the story "The Congressman and the Baby," which received a special citation from the National Press Photographers Association in conjunction with the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1953.
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Albert Einstein's 74th Birthday

Life sent Bubley to photograph Albert Einstein on his 74th birthday (1953). Although he was a private person, Einstein had acquiesced to a public birthday celebration to raise funds for Yeshiva University's planned Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He hated photographers, but he agreed to a photo session at his home, which he expected to last an hour. Bubley thought that photo session would last all day. Because she was quiet and unobtrusive, Einstein relented and allowed Bubley to accompany him for the entire day.
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The People Who Go to Hospitals

Bubley sat unobtrusively in the waiting rooms of the outpatient clinics and the emergency ward of St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, photographing people waiting to be treated. These images were not commissioned by Life, but Bubley entered them in the magazine's young photographers contest in 1951, and won third prize for a series. They were published in the article "The People Who Go to Hospitals." Life quoted Bubley, "For me, the people who came to St. Luke's clinics are all the people who go to all hospitals." They quoted one of the contest judges, "To my knowledge the story of a hospital has never before been done with such warmth of understanding."
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The Congressman and the Baby

Esther Bubley documented the story of a United States Congressman taking a young German orphan to her new family in America.
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Altar Boy - Momentary Angel

This story featured the altar boys at the Church of the Most Precious Blood in Walden, N.Y. Bubley's images capture the boys, solemn and angelic, performing their duties during Mass; then a few minutes later running around, shouting, and generally being rambunctious. The after-mass image shows the altar boy muttering "Big show-off" after being reprimanded for his rumpled appearance by an older boy.
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Life goes on a zoo tour with a famous poet, Marianne Moore calls on some animals she often writes about.

Marianne Moore's book Collected Poems, published in 1951, won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Bollingen Prize. In 1953, Life magazine assigned Bubley to cover the poet on a visit to the Bronx Zoo. Moore and Bubley became friends, and Bubley photographed Moore for Look magazine in the early 1960s.
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Benny Goodman - A Brief Comeback

The King of Swing launched an enthusiastically received come back tour that started in Manchester, NH and continued to sell-out crowds in New York City's Carnegie Hall, but after nine days Goodman collapsed and was placed in an oxygen tent. These images from the Portland, ME performance appeared in the article "Benny is Back" and a version of the article that was reworked after Goodman's hospitalization and published as "A Brief Comeback" in Life in 1953.
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Ladylike and Learned

Bubley's longest photo essay for Life was an 8-page spread about Cheltenham Ladies' College, England's most prestigious school for girls. The photograph of a group of girls that includes an Indian student did not appear in Life, but Edward Steichen selected it for the exhibition The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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Life Visits a Backyard Movie Set

Bubley documented the on- and off-screen action on the movie set of 13-year-old filmmaker Jonathan Katz who filmed scenes from "Tom Sawyer" in the backyard of his home in the Greenwhich Village section of New York City.
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Choir of Cherubs

Bubley's first assignment for Life was the Cherub Choir of St. Mark's Methodist church in Brooklyn, NY, and it made the cover of the Easter issue in 1951. She captured the rehearsals, play periods and performance of the children, who ranged in age from 2 to 5.