Minor White Biography

Minor White




Minor Martin White was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1908. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1933 with a degree in botany and a minor in English. After a five year sojourn, during which he focused on poetry while supporting himself as a waiter and bartender, he moved to Portland, Oregon, and joined the Oregon Camera Club. He took on assignments from the WPA and began exhibiting.


White served in military intelligence during World War II before moving to New York in 1945. He returned to school, this time at Columbia University, while also continuing his studies of photography under Alfred Stieglitz, Walter Chappell, and Ansel Adams. Adams encouraged White to return to the West Coast, where he would help develop the fine art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco-- the first of its kind. He would also co-found the magazine Aperture in 1952 with Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Barbara Morgan.


In 1953 White began working as a curator for George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and from 1956 to 1964 he taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology. For the last ten years of his life, White taught at MIT. In 1970, he was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship.


Minor White died in 1976. His archive is located at the Princeton University Art Museum.