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Jackie Martin Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: DMW
Date: Jan 1994

Biographical History

Cecilie "Jackie" Martin (1903-1969), woman photographer, writer, art director and editor, is an important figure in the early years of American journalism. During the twenties, while working for various Washington D.C. newspapers, Martin discovered her talent for photography which led to a decade-long (1930-40) career as art director, photographer and editor of the Washington Times-Herald, an around-the-clock publication. These hectic years produced an extensive photographic collection and earned Jackie Martin national recognition as a leading newspaper photographer. Her experience at the Times-Herald paved the way for a successful freelance career (1940-50)- she contributed to every major American magazine, published four books, and willingly accepted difficult assignments such as war correspondent in France and Italy, photographer for the Brazilian Air Force, and official photographer for America's first women's army, the WAAC.


1903 Born April 1 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, to Emma and Philip Martin. Birth name is Cecilia Barber Martin.
1918-1921 Attended Eastern High School, Washington D.C.
1921-1922 Office clerk and editor of store magazine at Kresge's. Salesperson and window decorator for Oppenheim's Shop.
1922-1923 Attended Syracuse University for 1 year (Sep 1922-Jun 1923) on a sports scholarship as a pre-law major.
Editorial staff of the University monthly the "Phoenix".
Member of Delta Gamma Sorority.
Established "Personal Service Co." to pay tuition.
Assistant physical education director at Y.W.C.A. Camp in Altemont, New York. (Jun 1922-Jul 1923)
1923-1926 Women's sports editor for Washington Times. (Oct 1923-May 1926)
1924 Member of Women's National Press Club.
1925-1926 Society editor for Underwood & Underwood Photo News Service. Learned how to take photographs and became feature photographer also. (Jun 1925-May 1926)
1926 Became member of combined photo staff for Hearst Papers, Washington Times and Washington Herald. (Sep 1926-Dec 1926)
1927-1928 Auditorium manager and publicity director for Arcadia Amusement Co., Washington D.C. Coach and manager of "Arcadians" girls basketball team. (Jan 1927-May 1928)
1928 Trained for 1/2 mile event for Olympics but was injured at tryouts. (Jun 1928-Aug 1928)
1928-1929 Assistant society editor for Washington Herald. (Sep 1928-Mar 1929)
1929-1930 Special Editions editor, feature news reporter and photographer for Washington Daily News. Assistant society editor when needed. (Mar 1929-Sep 1930)
1930-1932 Feature editor and photographer for Washington Herald (Sep 1930-Nov 1932). Became picture editor also.
1933-1937 Art director and picture editor for Washington Times and Washington Herald.
1933 Unofficial press attache to Ruth Bryan Owen, first woman minister to a foreign land. Traveled to Copenhagen. (Apr 1933-Jun 1933)
1935 Attended portrait session at Winona Lake School of Photography, Indiana. (Jun 1935-Aug 1935)
1935 Member of Newspaper Womens Club.
1936 Associate member of Royal Photographic Society, Great Britain.
1937 Washington Times and Herald combine. Photographic and art director for new Times-Herald.
1937-1938 "Jackie in Movieland" photo-interview series in Hollywood.
1940 Resigned from Washington Times-Herald (Aug 4th) and began freelance career that lasted throughout the 1940's. Lectured nationally for two seasons.
Advertising campaign for Chrysler Corporation.
1941 Toured Brazil with Alice Rogers Hager as guests of the Brazilian government.(Jun 1941-Sep 1941) Two books published: Frontier By Air (1942), Brazil: Giant To the South (1945).
Received George Arents Medal, distinguished alumni award from Syracuse University (first non-graduate to do so).
1941-1942 Established the photo department for the Chicago Sun's Washington Bureau. (Nov 1941-Jun 1942)
1941-1943 Associate Editor for Woman's Home Companion. (Dec 1941-Apr 1943)
1942 Expert consultant to Secretary of War. First official photographer and public relations officer for the WAACs at Des Moines, Iowa. (Jul 1942-Dec 1942) Published Bars On Her Shoulders (1943)
1942 First female member of the White House News Photographers Association.
1944 War Correspondent in Italy and France accredited by Ladies Home Journal. (Jun 1944-Dec 1944)
1944-1945 Wrote two unpublished manuscripts: "The Nurses: World War II", "Nurses In Action" ("Oh, Medic!").
1946 Feature editor and photographer for International News Photos (INP), Washington Bureau. (Jan 1946-Oct 1946)
Received War Department Certificate of Merit and Theater Ribbon for war correspondence.
1946-1947 Lectured with Colston Leigh Co. for 3 seasons (25 total).
1948-1949 Published Washington: City of Destiny (1949) with Alice Rogers Hager.
1950-1956 U.S. Foreign Service (United States Information Agency); Chief of 18-country photo operation for the Marshall Plan stationed in Paris. Editor of Marshall Plan European daily photo service. Resigned from Foreign Service (Nov 1956).
1955-1957 Under USIA, planned and organized world-wide display of Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" Exhibit in Washington D.C.
1957-1962 Vice president of sales and promotion for Norwood Studios in Washington D.C.
1957 Established own business, "Creative Communications".
1961 Received Order of the Southern Cross from Brazilian Government.
1963 Editorial consultant for "The Viewer".
Received Delta Gamma Rose Award.
1963-1964 Communications consultant for Delta Gamma Fraternity.
1966 Medal of Merit of Santos Dumont, Brazilian Air Force.
1967 Last government assignment as photographer for the American Battle Monuments Commission in Europe. (Oct 1967-Nov 1967)
1969 Died December 15, 1969.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Jackie Martin's recognition has been revived through this collection which includes professional records of Martin's career and personal files for her many assignments, and thousands of photographs and negatives. The Jackie Martin Papers is rich with American social and political history from the Great Depression to Post-World War II and contains Biographical material, Correspondece, Financial records, Projects and assignments, Subject files, Memorabilia, Photographs, and Negatives and contacts. The collection also provides an insider's view of Washington society during its heyday, a period when extravagant parties were frequent and extravagant people were plenty. Unfortunately, records of Martin's private life are absent leaving one's conclusions about her character to be based on her professional career and business relationships

The Biographical material section contains resumes, fact sheets, and employment applications that provide a clear chronology of Jackie Martin's career in her own words. Numerous accomplishments are reflected in five decades (1920-1970) of newspaper clippings and magazine articles. Background material and reference files for "Jackie Martin: the Washington Years," a 1986 exhibition held at Syracuse University's Lowe Art Gallery, are also in this section. A number of diary entries (1956-1965) and undated notes have been labeled the "surveillance case." So far, their significance is unclear other than the fact that Jackie Martin believed she was being followed, her privacy constantly invaded. These notes remain to be sorted and factual content has yet to be determined.

Correspondence are divided into two categories: family and general. Jackie Martin had close ties with her parents, Emma and Philip Martin; an older sister, Lydia (Pugh); a younger sister, Lillian (Clements), and younger brother, Philip Jr. The years of correspondence are consistent with the periods when Jackie was away on assignment. She lived with her parents and worked out of a basement studio in their home until 1948.

The general category reflects the broad network of business contacts and personal friendships Jackie Martin established and remained loyal to throughout her life. Many contacts were people she photographed in Washington D.C. such as presidents, government officials, prominent politicians, wealthy society hostesses, and magazine/newspaper publishers, writers, and artists. This list includes the President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, President Truman's family, J. Edgar Hoover, Clare Boothe Luce, Perle Mesta, William Randolph Hearst Jr., Eleanor "Cissy" Patterson, Marjorie Post, Evalyn, McLean, Walter Winchell, Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Bourke-White, Ollie Atkins, Roscoe Drummond, Edward Steichen, and Beaumont Newhall. Others include Army Generals, Ambassadors, Hollywood movie stars (1930s). There are also significant correspondence between Alice Rogers Hager and Jackie Martin who collaborated on several projects together. Correspondence relating to a particular project or assignment can be found throughout the collection, such as World War II, Presidents and leaders, or USIA.

The Financial records (1924-1968) and office files (1957-1968) include income tax figures, receipts, insurance policies, legal documents, and government service records. The office files include the years with Norwood Studios (1957-62) and a variety of projects that were being worked on during the sixties.

Projects and assignments is a broad heading inclusive of all major career accomplishments, the first being published books: Bars On Her Shoulders (1943), Brazil: Giant To the South (1945), Frontier By Air (1942), and Washington: City of Destiny (1949). Clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, journals, and close to 1500 black and white photographs, most complete with captions are included.

Features are broken down into three catagories: general, magazines, and newspapers. General features are those photographed and research by Jackie Martin lacking references to prove publication. In 1940, her freelance photography career took off and features were published in more than thirty major American magazines including LIFE, Collier's, LOOK, Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, and News-Week. The Magazine features section contains tearsheets and research files for several of these photo/articles arranged alphabetically by magazine name. Subjects cover a broad scope of the American scene: Washington political and social life, World War II army nurses, the WAACs, smalltown America, sports figures, and professional-career women.

Similarly, the Newspaper features (1930-60) include tearsheets and research files for several photo/articles published in the Washington Times-Herald, Chicago Sun, New York Daily Journal, and syndicated nationally through King Features. They are arranged chronologically (with original job title) to retain the sequence created in 1946 when photos were published daily through International News Photos (INP). Major stories include Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Clare Boothe Luce, the FBI, Gromyko, Bernard Barach, and Blair House.

The War correspondent section contains one unpublished manuscript and notes for a second relating to World War II army nurses. Correspondence, personal journals, and notes document her war experience. Records on the medical units and U.S. 7th army in Italy and France were the basis for the manuscripts and several magazine features published in 1944-45.

Photographer for the American Battle Monuments Commission was Jackie Martin's final government assignment (1967). This section documents her trip to American cemeteries in Europe through notes, correspondence, and about 350 photographs.

Jackie Martin became involved in the United States Foreign Service (1950-57) as chief of the 18-country photo operation for the Marshall Plan stationed in Paris. She was later responsible for organizing the USIA world-wide display of Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibit. This section contains background material, photographs, transcripts, and exhibition catalogs.

Subject files are divided into Presidents and Leaders, and general. All presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Nixon are represented here through clippings, correspondence, and few photographs. In addition, there are three volumes of a personal scrapbook dedicated to Winston Churchill, photographed (1941-42) and greatly admired by Jackie Martin throughout her life.

The general subject file category is an extensive reference system created for office use on such topics as United States government, foreign policy, diplomatic lists, communications, and Washington D.C.

Memorabilia is all information pertaining to clubs and organizations to which Jackie Martin belonged, general clippings, and hundreds of European travel maps and World War II American army maps. There are also sound recordings including several speeches by John F. Kennedy and an interview with Jackie Martin and Alice Rogers Hager on their war experiences.

The Scrapbooks, carefully organized by Jackie Martin, provide excellent documentation of her photographic career and should be consulted for additional information on almost every subject listed under Projects and assignments.

Photographs are located throughout the collection under their respective categories. This section contains hundreds of others listed alphabetically by subject; most of the them are working photographs with compromised quality. The oversize photographs, especially those prepared for the 1986 exhibition, are of superior quality and exemplify Martin's true talents. (See also Negatives and contacts).

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is divided into eight series: Biographical material, Correspondence, Financial records, Projects and assignments, Subject files, Memorabilia, Photographs, and Negatives and contacts. Most of the series are arranged alphabetically by subject. Correspondence is divided into four subseries: Incoming family, Outgoing family, Incoming general, and Outgoing general. The general correspondence is arranged alphabetically. In Projects and assignments, the subseries Newspaper features research files is arranged chronologically. The Negatives and contacts are in no discernable order.

Other Related Finding Aids

Several additional lists are available in the finding aids file, including:


Access Restrictions:

CLOSED: All negatives/contacts are currently closed for conservation.

Access to recordings requires advance notice to produce a use copy.

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Four of the published books featuring Jackie Martin's work ( Bars on Her Shoulders: A Story of a WAAC, Frontier By Air: Brazil Takes the Sky Road, Washington: City of Destiny, and Brazil: Giant To the South) were removed from the collection for separate cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog for further details.

Subject Headings


Martin, Jackie, 1903-1969.

Corporate Bodies

American Battle Monuments Commission.
United States Information Agency.


Documentary photography -- Europe.
Journalists -- United States.
Military nursing -- United States -- 20th century.
Photographers -- United States.
Photojournalists -- United States.
War correspondents -- 20th century.
Women journalists -- United States.
Women photographers.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Journalists.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Photography.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Lantern slides.
Manuscripts for publication.
Phonograph records.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jackie Martin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Biographical material


Financial records

Projects and assignments

Subject files



Negatives and contacts