Special Collections & Archives

Alexander Agassiz's Expedition and Other Images Collection: An Archivist’s Process

By Gwendolyn Henry, EdM, MSLIS

Archivist and Library Assistant

Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology

Harvard University

Processing the Alexander Agassiz's Expedition and Other Images Collection (1897-1950 (bulk)), which contains 734 gelatin dry plate glass negatives, 268 film negatives and 13 photographic prints requires several key skills: strong attention to detail, the ability to do research, knowledge of descriptive metadata, and most of all a steady hand.

I started this project in April 2012 with little experience in processing glass...

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Alexander Agassiz's Expedition and Other Images Collection is now accessible!

Background

The collection, which primarily documents the expeditions and work of Alexander Agassiz, a pioneer in oceanographic research and zoological investigation and curator and director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (1873-1910), consists of 734 gelatin dry plate glass negatives, 268 film negatives, and 13 photographic prints from the late 1890s through the mid-twentieth century.  The photographs were taken on the Albatross, Challenger, Croydon, and Yaralla expeditions to locations such as Easter Island, Fiji, and Australia, as well as at Agassiz’s Newport, Rhode Island, laboratory and home and at other sites.  The collection also includes images taken by Thomas Barbour (who was a student of Alexander Agassiz two decades before becoming MCZ director himself) in South America, Indonesia, Jamaica, Cuba and Florida, as well as those (chiefly zoological specimens) photographed at or for the MCZ.
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Illustrator James Henry Blake (1845-1941)

Works by James Henry Blake (1845-1941) on display at the Ernst Mayr Library

A new exhibit of drawings and watercolors by J.H. Blake, is now on display in the lobby of the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology.   Join us for a reception in honor of the exhibit on July 25, 2013 from 2:30-4:30pm.  The exhibit was developed by Robert Young, Special Collections Librarian.  Notes on Blake’s life and work follow below.

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Read more about Illustrator James Henry Blake (1845-1941)