Verner Reed was born in 1923 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in North Carolina. He attended boarding school and graduated from Milton Academy in 1941. He was enrolled at Harvard University when he entered military service. For about two years, Reed was an aircraft engineer in the US Army Air Corps during World War II, serving in China, Burma, and India before being discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1946. Reed had first turned to photography in the late 1940's in Vermont to document the handcrafted furniture he made. Soon, though, he took an interest in photography as a mode of self-expression. He moved to Boston in the early 1950's, where he spent much of his time, camera in hand, exploring the city's streets and photographing its inhabitants. He also sought out freelance work on the side. These two worlds -- creating images of life in and around the city and earning a living from photography -- came together serendipitously at the protests in response to the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. In June 1953, Reed was taking pictures of a protest in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's executions were scheduled for later that week, and both their supporters and detractors were out in force. While he worked, Reed was approached by a "Life" magazine writer who had no photographer with him that day. Reed agreed to help the writer cover the story, and so began his six-year stint covering New England for "Life." During his photographic career, Reed's work was also featured in other national magazines such as "Fortune" and "Time," regional publications including "Vermont Life" and several New England newspapers. Verner Reed died on February 28, 2006, in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Sources: http://www.historicnewengland.org/visit/tour/verner_reed.asp; The Boston Globe, 2006-04-06, B7.