About Dale Rooks

Rhinedale (Dale) Rooks was born in 1917 in Grand Rapids, MI and died of cancer in 1954 in Grand Rapids. Albertus Rooks, Dale’s father, was former Principal of the Literary program at Calvin College from 1900 to 1918, and later named as the first Dean of college, a position he held from 1918-1942. His mother was Grace (Oostening) Rooks. Dale Rooks had two brothers, Marius and Corbyn Rooks. Marius worked with Dale in his Grand Rapids photography company, and Corbyn (Corbin) was Vice president at Trane Corporation.

Dale Rooks on USCG Duane in 1944-45

Dale Rooks on USCG Duane in 1944-45

After graduating from Grand Rapids Christian High School, Dale went to Calvin College where he worked for the Calvin College Yearbook Annual Prism. Dale graduated in 1938 and picked up work as a news photographer for the Muskegon Chronicle. His skill as a news and documentary photographer then took him across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, WI, to work for the Milwaukee Journal. In 1940 he then moved to Kent, OH to teach at Kent University in the Journalism department. Two years later (1942) Dale moved to New York City for work as a feature photographer for the newspaper, PM.

Dale’s focus shifted to combat photography when he joined the US Coast Guard in 1944 and for two years was deployed in and around the Mediterranean taking photos aboard the USC Dwayne, the French Riviera, and Italy. After working with the Coast Guard, he joined LOOK magazine as staff photographer.

Dale Rooks Photographed in 1953

Dale Rooks Photographed in 1953, only one-year before his untimely death.

Invasion FS 08 PM Dale Rooks

Dale Rooks USCG

Dale Rooks moved back to Grand Rapids in 1947 to start his own business and to be a freelance photographer. He married Sally (Leenstra) Rooks and had three children; Jan, Daryll, and Dalene. During this time Dale authored the book “Everybody’s Photo Course” and did the posed animal photography for “Three Little Bunnies” and “Three Little Puppies”, children’s books written by Ruth Dixon and published by Rand McNally as Famous Elf Books in 1950 and 1951.

Three Little Bunnies and Three Little Puppies

Dale and Sally Rooks on Set of Three Little Puppies

Dale and Sally Rooks on Set of Three Little Puppies

Dale’s photographs were featured in magazines such as Family Circle, Good  Housekeeping, House & Garden, House Beautiful, LIFE, U.S. Camera, Fortune, Science Illustrated, Flying, and the newspaper The New York Times. Dale Rooks is most famous for his furniture photography and his special effects photography. As a commercial photographer, Dale worked extensively with the Grand Rapids furniture manufacturers. A large segment of the furniture marketing images used in brochures, catalogs and major magazines at the time were produced by Dale.

Everybody’s Photo Course

One of the prominent works completed by Dale was a US Camera “How to do it” book titled “Everybody’s Photo Course – 25 Simple Lessons in Picture Taking”. This book, a compilation of photography lessons by Dale Rooks published in U.S. Camera magazine, came out in hard cover in 1945. The book was republished in 1954 as a paperback. Dale’s wife Sally, and son, Jan, appear in several pictures.

Everybody's Photo Course Hard Cover Edition

Everybody’s Photo Course Hard Cover Edition

U S Camera Photo Course Forward (Hard Cover):

U. S. Camera magazine began its simplified photo course, the editors little realized how popular a feature they were introducing.  Nothing in the magazine has created more interest than this series.

This book is the inevitable outgrowth.  Now in its second edition, it has been completely revised and five additional lessons which have appeared in U. S. CAMERA magazine since the first printing, now exhausted, have been included.  In its enlarged form, Everybody’s Photo Course is a truly comprehensive pocket manual.

Most of the work in the photo course was done by Dale Rooks, associate editor of the U. S. CAMERA.  Dale Rooks is now overseas as a Coast Guard photographer.  His past experience on the photo staff of The Milwaukee Journal and PM, as well as his teaching experience at Kent College, OH, made him the ideal choice to supervise this pictorial photography course.  (End of Forward)

The first book, published in 1944, had 15 lessons, the second (1945) had 20 and the 1954 issue had 25 lessons.  Since the 1954 photo book was published, many more editions were published up to 1966 and 67 editions.

5 Responses to About Dale Rooks

  1. andy ungerleider

    I remember 3 Bunnies as a child. I had no idea Dale had any part in the production of this classic children’s book. Each night my parernts made a point of reading a small Golden Book type tale, before sleep. It instilled in me good reading habits throughout my life.
    I hope you find a way to bring Dale’s Photo Course Book into print again.
    (possibly with updates for digital photography). I would be most interested in owning a copy.
    sincerely,
    andy

  2. Very interesting story and nice pics of Dale Rooks taken during the landing in Provence, south of France.
    I present some pics with Dale Rooks credit on my blog dedicated to a district of the harbour of Toulon.
    Two views from D. Rooks taken in 1944 and today:
    http://www.le-minot.com/public/toulon.jpg
    http://www.le-minot.com/public/toulon-2.jpg
    Yours,
    Jacques

    • Thank you so much for your comment. It is really amazing to see how Toulon was able to flourish after such great destruction. We have included a link to your article on the “Outside Links” area. Best wishes from your friends in the US!

  3. Dalene Rooks DeGraaf

    Are you able to post any of his photos from the Look at America books? I believe the one on the West has the most photos by Dale.

  4. I live in the house Dale lived in on Burton St in Cascade (Grand Rapids Mi) I have three big ariel photos of the house and surrounding area that he took. My parents moved into this house in 1950 or 1951. I love it here. My neighbor found articles about Dale online. I knew Rooks lived here but didnt know anything about them. Now those photos I have are even more special

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