Alpha Club – Sept. Report

Alpha Study Club met at the home of Karen Handorf with a fall tea for the first meeting of the year on September 28.

Vice President Claire Handorf called the meeting to order with a reading called “Summer’s End.” Roll call was answered by sixteen members telling of an interesting book they had read during the summer. The Secretary’s and Treasurer’s reports were read. Bonnie Murty gave the Historian’s report for the past year.

Under Old Business, we were reminded to check the club book for our individual responsibilities.

Under New Business, participation in the Festival of Trees was discussed but a final decision was tabled until the next meeting.

Marcy Knaack reviewed the book “Moments In History” by Margaret Bourke-White. Margaret Bourke-White was America’s first female war correspondent and also something of a media star with the portrait of her decked out in flying gear, camera in hand, about to set off on a bombing raid, being a favorite pin up among U.S. forces.

Focusing on the work Bourke-White made in the 1930’s and 1940’s in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union and the U.K., “Moments in History” presents 150 classic photographs alongside revelatory extracts from letters and publications in periodicals. Bourke-White traveled to the USSR when the first Five Year Plan was being implemented; she documented the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and the Allied bombing of Germany. In the summer of 1945 she was commissioned by Life magazine to make a photographic record of the destroyed German cities.

She was present at the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and the Leipzig-Thekla forced labor camp. She recorded the partition of India and the Korean War and one of her most famous pictures of this period is “Ghandi” which shows the subject at this spinning wheel. Also included in the book are extracts from her correspondence with personalities from the worlds of politics and culture, such as Winston Churchill and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Bourke-White wanted to be the eyes of the age and her pictures testify to (as she put it) her “unquenchable desire to be present when history is being made.”

After the review and meeting, a delicious lunch of finger sandwiches and a variety of sweets was served.

Our next meeting is at Claire Handorf’s with Pat Goos as reviewer on October 26.