Marion Carpenter, 82, an early female White House photographer who had covered President Harry S. Truman and who died alone and destitute, was found dead Oct. 29 at her home here.
She was found on a couch, tightly bundled up against the chill because the thermostat had been lowered to save money. The cause of death was not reported.
"She sounds like the type of woman upon whose shoulders we all stand," said Susy Schultz, president of the Journalism and Women Symposium. "It's sad that we don't know about a Marion Carpenter."
In the 1940s, Ms. Carpenter was one of the first women in the White House News Photographers' Association. She was the only woman among a handful of photographers who traveled with Truman.
Ms. Carpenter, who studied photography in St. Paul, came to Washington in the mid-1940s. She was a White House photographer for the International News Photos syndicate.
Among her belongings found when she died were photos she took of Truman, which the president inscribed to "Miss Carpenter."
One of those photos, which showed Truman striding uphill toward the Washington Monument, bears the message: "It's good exercise if you keep it up, but not for high-heeled shoes, Miss Carpenter."
According to what she told friends late in life, a love affair with a married man may have helped end her career prematurely.
Ms. Carpenter's marriage to a Navy officer who abused her ended in divorce. In Washington, she fell in love with a Capitol journalist. When the affair ended, Ms. Carpenter married again. Her new husband, a radio announcer, took her to Denver, where they had a son. By late 1951, the marriage -- and her career -- were over. She was 31. Back in St. Paul, Ms. Carpenter ran a wedding photo business and worked as a nurse to support her mother and child.
Her son, Mjohn Anderson, ran afoul of juvenile authorities and left home in the late 1960s at age 19. Ms. Carpenter never saw him again. He would be 52 now.
In her later years, she passed time at thrift shops, sitting on used furniture while browsing through old copies of National Geographic.
Carpenter showed magazines to friends and explained why photographs were composed the way they were.