Wilson A. Bentley first became fascinated with snow during his childhood on a Vermont farm, and he experimented for years with ways to view individual snowflakes in order to study their crystalline structure. He eventually attached a camera to his microscope, and in 1885 he successfully photographed the flakes. This photomicrograph and more than five thousand others supported the belief that no two snowflakes are alike, leading scientists to study his work and publish it in numerous scientific articles and magazines. In 1903 Bentley sent prints of his snowflakes to the Smithsonian, hoping they might be of interest to Secretary Samuel P. Langley.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Image No. SIA2013-09128
Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520