Arthur Rothstein is known as one of America’s premier photojournalists of the twentieth century. During a 50-year career, he created an indelible visual record of life in the United States, and opened windows to the world for the American people during the golden era of news magazine photography.
Born in New York City, Rothstein entered Columbia University at the age of 16. After his graduation in 1935, he was hired by his former economics professor, Roy Stryker, as a photographer for the Resettlement Administration (later, the Farm Security Administration). The administration was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal to help farmers struggling through the Great Depression. During the next five years, he shot some of the most significant photographs ever taken of rural and small-town America.
In 1940, Rothstein became a staff photographer for Look magazine, but soon left to join the U.S. Office of War Information, and then the U.S. Army Signal Corp in India and China. After World War II, he worked as chief photographer in China for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Returning from China in 1946, he rejoined Look where he became Director of Photography until the magazine ceased publication in 1971. He went on to hold the same position at Parade magazine. Later, Rothstein served as a staff columnist for leading photography magazines and The New York Times. He was a faculty member at several universities, and he published nine books on photography and photojournalism.
During his career, Rothstein was the recipient of more than 35 awards in photojournalism. His photographs have appeared in several major exhibitions, and are in the permanent collections of museums throughout the world, including the U.S. Library of Congress where thousands of his images are freely and permanently accessible to the public.