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Ruth Gruber

2011 Recipient of the Cornell Capa Award: Ruth Gruber



Unknown Photographer, Ruth Gruber, Alaska, 1941–43

Ruth Gruber is a dedicated writer, correspondent, photojournalist, and humanitarian. She has devoted her life to rescue and sanctuary for refugees. Born in 1911, Ruth Gruber became the world's youngest Ph.D. at 20 years of age with the first feminist thesis on Virginia Woolf, written while she was a foreign exchange student at the University of Cologne (Germany). In 1936, as a foreign correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, she became the first journalist to report from the Soviet Arctic. In 1944, while war and holocaust raged, Gruber was sent on a covert mission ordered by President Roosevelt to escort 1,000 refugees across the Atlantic to the U.S. This mission, chronicled in her book Haven, was the basis for a CBS mini-series starring Natasha Richardson. Gruber has published 19 books, including Exodus 1947 based on her spot reporting of the famous refugee ship; Raquela, which received the National Jewish Book Award; and Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman. In 1998, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is a popular lecturer and public speaker. Her most recent book is Witness, encompassing her seven decades of photojournalism. She has said at lectures and in interviews that as a young person you must use the tools that are accessible to you to battle injustice. For Gruber, her tools were writing and images, her typewriter and her camera. She inspires people to use what they are passionate about to change the world for the better.

Infinity Awards on Flickr

Infinity Awards on Flickr

View photos of the Infinity Awards ceremony.
© Bill Davila