Doris Dwyer

Thursday, February 7, 3:30 p.m., The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Doris Dwyer

Chautauqua is returning to Academy Village.  Doris Dwyer, Ph. D., who appeared here as Donner Party survivor Margaret Breen in 2018, will portray photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White this year.  Bourke-White was a woman in perpetual motion, an intrepid pioneer shaping the world of photojournalism.  She was the first photographer hired by Henry Luce for Fortune and she was on the original staff of Life magazine.  As the first American woman to excel in industrial photography and to photograph a bombing raid from the air, she always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Her exploits fascinated readers around the world.  Bourke-White’s face was as famous as her best-known photographs, mesmerizing images of war, poverty, and man’s inhumanity toward man that riveted, shocked and educated audiences about their time. Her exploits included crash landing in a crop duster, a helicopter crash in Chesapeake Bay, surviving a torpedo attack in WWII, and photographing the liberation of Buchenwald.

Closer to home, Bourke-White produced searing images of the Dust Bowl and the lives of ordinary folk during the Great Depression. Her work documenting sharecroppers led to a collaboration with the well-known writer Erskine Caldwell, whom she later married.  She wrote/co-wrote nine books, including her autobiography, Portrait of Myself.

A Chautauqua presentation has three parts.   Doris Dwyer will present a historical narrative, in character, based strictly on the historical sources.  Following the narrative, she answers questions in character.  Concluding, she will answer questions as herself, a historical scholar.

Doris Dwyer is professor emerita of history and humanities at Western Nevada College.   Since 1994 she has given over 900 Chautauqua presentations in ten states, including portrayals of Margaret Sanger, Rachel Carson, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, and Anne Hutchinson.  She is thrilled to be returning to Academy Village.

Written by Doris Dwyer, Presenter



Feb. 7: Historical Re-enactment of Margaret Bourke-White