Published: May 26, 2018

William Osgood Field was an internationally known Glaciologist, and head of the Department of Exploration and Field Research at American Geophysical Union/American Geographical Society (AGU/AGS) from 1947 until his retirement in 1969. Field participated in many trips to Alaska from 1935-1972. During these times Field and his colleagues documented glacier changes with repeat photography.

From Athea Merredyth, Project Archivist at NSIDC/CU, says, "These photographs taken in 1935 in Blackstone Bay, Valdez-Cordova division of Alaska, are some of my favorite. While the photographs do not depict glaciers, the lyrical black and white photographs are an example of Field’s artistic vision that formed over time. These images are a departure from Field’s typical composition and arrangement of visual elements in the photograph. These photos also express a different context and intention of the landscape photograph. Rather than being a straight-forward depiction of the natural environment, these images communicate emotion using the natural framing of the cave and waterfall that showcases negative space in a different way. The contrast and tonal values that appear in the photos highlight the vantage point of the photographer while adding to the emotive qualities of the overall image."

The Glacier Photograph Collection is an online, searchable collection available for view through NSIDC website. The collection will soon be available for view through the CU Digital platform.

An image of a boat on a lake. An image from the mouth of cave of a lake. Two people standing on a rock outcropping over a lake. Two people standing on a rock outcropping over a lake.


The seal of the 100 Stories for 100 Years of Archives The University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #88 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!