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Ralph Morse

(1917 - )


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Ralph Morse was an eyewitness to some of the most important events during the 20th Century. He photographed some of the most widely seen pictures of World War II, the space program, and sports events. During his thirty years at LIFE Magazine, Morse covered every type of assignment from science to theatre, and he was the senior staff photographer at the time it ceased publication. Encyclopedias and history books abound with his coverage of World War II, the marines at Guadalcanal, the Doolittle raid in Tokyo, and Patton's drive across France. Morse was the only civilian photographer covering the surrender of the German armies to General Eisenhower for the entire world to see.

Assigned to the space program during its infancy, he spent fifteen years using inventive photography to explain the astronauts and the space flights to LIFE’s readers.

Claiming to be a specialist in nothing, but a journalist portraying words in pictures, his thirty awards helped inspire LIFE's ex-managing editor, Georgia Hunt to quote in a speech, “If LIFE could afford only one photographer, it would have to be Ralph Morse.”

Morse was an eyewitness to some of the most important events during the 20th Century. The Eighth Astronaut: My Life with LIFE is his story.


Sources: American Jewish Historical Society Newsletter Fall/Winter 2003

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