John Rich '39, Forgotten Korean War Photos in Smithsonian Magazine

Story posted November 20, 2008

John Rich '39 and his collection of rare color photographs of wartime Korea are the subject of the feature, "One Man's Korean War," in the November 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine.

Smithsonian cover.jpg

Rich spent nearly 30 years as a war correspondent for the International News Service and later for NBC News.

Rich snapped upwards of 1,000 color photographs in 1950 while on the ground covering the Korean War.

He told Smithsonian they were meant to be souvenirs, nothing more.

"If something looked good, I'd shoot away," he said.

The color photographs of Marines, pilots, generals, children and refugees paint a rare picture of a war that is mostly seen in black and white photos.

Rich, who is 91, lives in his native Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

He says it was 10 years ago that he mentioned to a neighbor that he had color slides from the combat years in an old tea chest in his attic and began to realize the significance of what he had.

Rich's photographs were featured in the summer of 2008 in The Korean War in Living Color: Photographs and Recollections of a Reporter, an exhibition at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Read the Smithsonian magazine article.

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