Born in Philadelphia on July 3rd, 1919, a young Bruce, Jr. learned photography at an early age from his father “The Master” photographer, Bruce Murray, Sr. (1893–1969). Bruce Jr., along with his 3 brothers, Jim, Bill and Don, used the old “Brownie” box camera that their dad had given them. Only Bruce, Jr. held onto that interest later into in his life. Growing up in a few neighborhoods in the Philadelphia area, West Phila., South-West Phila. and suburbs, Darby and Springfield, Bruce Jr. spent time emulating his father.
After finishing school, he went to work at The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin along side of his father, learning the craft and tools of the photojournalism trade. Not much time passed before world war had taken hold of our country for the second time. Bruce Jr. enlisted and became part of the “Fighting Tigers” of the 10th Armored Division under General Patton. Shipped over seas at the height of WWII, he saw action in what many considered the worst conflict in U.S. history, the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. After surviving the horrors of battle, he spent some time in Garmich and other parts of Germany and bought a small German camera and continued to hone his skills. Upon his return home after WWII, he learned that he had lost two of his brothers: Don, fighting in Africa and Bill, fighting in Italy. The latter receiving the prestigious “Silver Star” for bravery, our nations second highest accommodation. Happy to be home, he quickly went back to work at The Evening Bulletin with his dad. Soon after met and married his beautiful wife Rose Sylvester and eventually had three children: Don, Colleen and Shawn.
Being effected by the loss of his brothers and even though he had valiantly served his country for four years during WWII, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force reserves. Shortly after, he was called up during the Korean War. He spent another 2 years in the Air Force. There he was assigned to many duties, one of which was to be the base photographer at Maguire Air Force Base, continuing to hone his skills, photographing events, dignitaries, special aircraft, etc.
After his time in the Air Force, he was welcomed back to The Evening Bulletin with open arms. He became a full-fledged staff photographer and worked along side of his dad and many other wonderful photojournalists for many years. He loved documenting parents and children of post war America. He did side jobs as a wedding photographer and some freelance work for the Courier Post newspaper in New Jersey.
After his third child, Shawn was born, he needed to find a better paying position to support his family, so in 1956, he was hired by U.S. Steel to be their plant photographer in their huge Fairless Hills facility. There, Bruce Jr. documented the plant’s construction, demolition, visiting dignitaries, plant accidents, VIPs, etc. He risked life and limb shooting breath-taking photos of blast furnaces, pouring molten steel, huge cranes, massive Euclid trucks and all kinds of raw industrial imagery. There, he honed his skills as a photographer in a multitude of genres, until his retirement in 1986.
After over four decades as a professional photographer, Bruce, Jr. had one more battle to fight. A battle with a horrible disease called Alzheimer’s disease. After a long five-year battle, never loosing his warmth and charm…he passed away from complications in 1991 at the age of 72.
Mr. Murray’s family has taken every measure to preserve his works so that we may all enjoy them today. We hope that you enjoy these photographs through the years as much as “Bruce, Jr.” enjoyed taking them.