One of my ongoing projects includes item level cataloging of digitized photographs from our manuscript collections. I just finished the Gifford Pinchot South Seas Expedition of 1929. The collection was donated to the Academy in 1972 by Howard H. Cleaves, the official expedition photographer, via Mrs. Roger Tory Peterson. One of my favorite photographs is this image of a Galapagos tortoise approaching Mrs. Gifford Pinchot as she is sewing on the deck of the "Mary Pinchot".  September 10, 1929.

The original accession came to the Academy in three wooden boxes containing 1,389 glass plate negatives and one wooden box with four photo albums. Since the accession, the glass plate negatives were removed from the wooden boxes and their original acidic paper envelopes. The negatives were placed in acid free archival paper enclosures and boxes specifically made to house fragile glass plate negatives.

Approximately 150 of the negatives were digitized and I just added the metadata (data about data) into our digital asset management system including year, creator, title, and subject headings. In 1930, Gifford Pinchot published a book titled “To the South Seas” about the expedition and many of our digitized images were used in the text.

Mary Pinchot anchored offshore. Stiff (Stephen Stahlnecker) waving to her from foreground. August 1, 1929.

- Danielle Castronovo

Archives & Digital Collections Librarian

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