Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seeking information

You can help my project. While developing the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide I ran across some historical reports on expeditions around Mt. Rainier before it became a National Park in 1899. I posted an entry about the first scientific expedition by Israel Cook Russel, Otis Smith and Bailey Willis, and others.

I've managed to find the set of 4x5 negatives Bailey Willis took on the expedition, currently in the archives of the USGS in Denver. They have scanned some of the collection but don't plan to scan the bulk for some time yet, so I'm discussing some options to help, or at least see the negatives and any prints (without going to Denver).

I've also managed to find locate and get a copy of George Otis Smith's field notes on the geology of Mt. Rainier on the expedition. I've found archives of some of Bailey Willis and Israel C. Russell's materials but very little of the expedition, and I have inquiries with university libraries and departments where they were professors, but considering it's the summer, answers will take awhile.

And so, I'm asking if you know of any materials or information about the expedition, I would be grateful. I realize it's an off-shoot from the photo guide, but it's an intriguing adventure into this group and their expedition. The initial goal is to find enough information to retrace the expedition and see if I can locate where the photos were taken, and if possible to take new 4x5 photos (yes, I shoot 4x5).

If it works out, probably a few years from now, and enough material is useful to retrace the expedition and locate the sites of the photos, the plan would be to produce an on-line paper or pamphlet for people to learn from the history of the NP, including a portfolio of photos then and recent.

And so it's just an expedition into an expedition. And like the first, who knows where it will lead and what it finds. But what's not to like about it? A snapshot of history meets the modern world. So you can help by sending me e-mail.

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