Bettye Lane

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Bettye Lane (September 19, 1930, Boston – September 19, 2012, Manhattan) was an American photojournalist who was known for her photographs. These photographs documented major events within the Feminist Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Gay Rights Movement in the United States. She joined CBS Television in 1960, and from 1962–1964 she was with the Saturday Evening Post. Her work has been published in The National Observer, Time, Life, and the Associated Press.

Lane's work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and some of her photographs are part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her work is also part of the collections of the New York Public Library and the libraries at Harvard University and Duke University. Her photographs have also been utilized in documentary films and published books.

Lane died on her 82nd birthday.[1]


Lane became exposed to public relations in 1959 when she began to attend the Boston University School of Public Relations and Communications. Lane finished school in 1962. From 1959 to 1962, Lane was affiliated with the Harvard University News Office, exposing herself to working with current events. Additionally, Lane was hired by CBS television in 1960. Lane's work with public relations and the news, from 1959 to 1962, prepared her for her first job as a photojournalist. In 1962, the Saturday Evening Post hired her as a photo journalist and she worked there until 1964.[2] In 1966, the National Observer hired Lane for the same position and she stayed there until 1977.[3] Lane was hired by the National Observer after she met the newspaper's photo editor at protest in 1966. He was so impressed with her devotion and dedication that he hired her and eventually helped make her become known as the official photographer of the women's movement.[4]

It was during her time working at the National Observer, a New York weekly newspaper, that Lane was given her big break. In 1970, Lane had her first encounter with the women's movement when she was assigned to cover the first Women's Strike for Equality. The protest was organized by the National Organization for Women and fought for women's equality in the workplace. After photographing the Women's Strike for Equality, Lane became obsessed with photographing the women's movement and made it her business to attend and photograph every protest and rally, whether she was assigned to do so or not. It was this dedication that resulted in Lane becoming known as the official photographer of the women's movement.[1]

After leaving the National Observer in 1977, Lane became independent, not tying herself down to a certain publication, however, she took assignments from Time Magazine, Life Magazine and The Associated Press.[1]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Famous Works[edit]


Lane's photographs have been featured in more than 70 films and 64 books.Her photographs are displayed at the Smithsonian, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University, the Rubenstein library at Duke University and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. Lane spent the end of her life organizing her photographs and donating them to different organizations to shed light on the history of the women's movement.[1]

Lane's photographs stand out from other photographers because while she did photograph the important leaders of the women's movement, Lane photographed everyday, ordinary people during the protests. She found that these photographs captured the emotion and essence of the women's movement better than the photographs of leaders.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Kaufman, Leslie. "Bettye Lane Dies at 82; Photographer of Protests and Causes". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Inventory of the Bettye Lane Photographs". Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University. 
  3. ^ "Guide to Bettye Lane Photographs". Duke University Libraries. Duke University. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Humm, Andy. "Bettye Lane, Top Photographer of Social Movements, Dies.". GayCityNews. NYC Community Media. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Donovan, Joanne. "Bettye Lane, Photographer of the Women's Movement". Radcliffe.Harvard. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 

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