Bailey Willis Glass Plate Photonegatives Collection consists of 160 glass plate photonegatives and 119 modern copy prints mostly of Japanese subjects. Depicting Meiji-era Japan and traditional paintings, the photographs are attributed to the prominent American geologist Bailey Willis, who travelled to Japan in 1904 in his return trip from China to the U.S. From 1903 to 1904, Willis led a scientific expedition to China to conduct geological and paleontological investigations under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The expedition was proposed by Dr. Charles D. Walcott, the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, who would become the fourth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1907. After the expedition, the Smithsonian Institution took custody of 375 glass plate photonegatives taken by Willis during his Chinese expedition. The current Willis Collection does not retain Chinese glass plate photonegatives, which appear to be housed in the Huntington Library. Twelve original prints of China are in the Charles Lang Freer Papers, acquired by Freer directly from Willis. The Willis Collection richly documents Japanese local scenes, people, buildings, industries, agriculture, and art. It also contains a small number of Middle Eastern and Western images. These photographs are thought to be taken and/or purchased by Willis during his short stay in Japan in 1904, although there is no direct evidence that Willis was the original photographer of any or all of these. Since there are many views of locations that Willis never visited, it seems likely that the plates were acquired from another photographer.
Box 1-3 Japanese paintings; Box 4-11 Japanese scenes; Box 12 Middle Eastern scenes, miscellaneous; Box 13 Western scenes, miscellaneous; Box 14 Japanese painting and scenes; Box 15 Japanese scenes
Biographical / Historical:
Bailey Willis was born at his parents' country estate at Idlewild-on-Hudson, near Cornwall, New York in 1857. He was the son of Nathaniel Parker Willis, a poet and journalist, and Cornelia (Grinnell) Willis of the prominent New England Grinnell family. His maternal granduncle, Henry Grinnell, was a benefactor of Arctic expeditions. His mother was instrumental in nurturing young Willis's interest in nature and exploration. After his father's death when Willis was ten years old, his mother, concerned about her son's "tendency to dream ineffectually," decided to train him in the stern disciplines of mathematics and science (Willis, A Yanqui in Patagonia 4). At the age of thirteen, Willis began schooling in Germany, where he received rigorous Prussian education.
Returning to New York in 1874, Willis entered the School of Mines at Columbia University, graduating with degrees in Mining Engineering in 1878 and Civil Engineering in 1879. After graduation Willis worked as an assistant for Raphael Pumpelly, a prominent geologist, by estimating iron and coal resources for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Geological work in the Pacific Northwest convinced Willis to support the preservation of Mount Rainier and its surroundings. The Mount Rainier National Park was established by law in 1899.
In 1882 Willis married his cousin Altona Holstein Grinnell. After her death in 1896, he married Margaret Delight Baker, daughter of anatomist Frank Baker. Margaret assisted Willis as draftsman and secretary.
Willis first earned international recognition as a geologist in the field of structural geology. Following the bankruptcy of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1884, Willis worked on assignments from the United States Geological Survey. While working in the southern Appalachian Mountains, he became interested in what had caused folding and faulting. By using laboratory experiments, Willis investigated the conditions causing the deformation of strata and published his new interpretation of the deformation in the report "The Mechanics of Appalachian Structure" (1893). This study established him as one of the country's leading structural geologists. His later book Geologic Structures (1923) went into three editions.
In addition to geological studies in the United States, Willis actively engaged himself in foreign expeditions throughout his life. From 1903 to1904, Willis led a scientific expedition to China under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. With Eliot Blackwelder, an associate geologist, and R. H. Sargent, a topographer, the expedition investigated the geomorphology, stratigraphy, and paleontology of the country. The result of the expedition appeared as Research in China in 1907, which won a gold medal from the Geographic Society of France. Furthermore, in recognition of this work, Willis was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Berlin in 1910. In the same year the Argentine government invited Willis to conduct a geological survey of Patagonia for the region's irrigation potential.
In 1915, at age 59, Willis accepted a position of Chairman of the Department of Geology at Stanford University, where he remained affiliated as a professor emeritus after his retirement. In California, Willis extended his research to the area of seismology, and served as President of the Seismological Society of America. Believing in the permanence of continents, he held an oppositional view to the continental drift theories. In 1949, Willis died in Palo Alto, California at age 91.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Restricted to reference use only. Copyright not owned by the Smithsonian Institution. Permission to duplicate must be obtained from films' creators, Transferring office; 9/2/2008 memorandum, Yowell to Rothberg; Contact reference staff for details.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 08-166, National Museum of Natural History, Films
98.7 cu. ft. (96 record storage boxes) (1 document box) (5 oversize tube boxes) (6 globes)
Motion pictures (visual works)
North Atlantic Ocean
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
The papers of Bruce C. Heezen primarily document his oceanographic and geological research and his career as a faculty member and scientist at Columbia University.
To a lesser extent, they concern his personal affairs. They include incoming and outgoing correspondence with geologists, oceanographers, Columbia University colleagues, publishers
and professional organizations; personal correspondence, memorabilia, and records from his college career; files on Heezen's professional activities including meetings, conferences,
symposia, and lectures; correspondence, reports, proposals and related materials concerning contracts and grants received by Heezen; manuscripts and reprints of his published
and unpublished scientific papers; classroom materials and teaching records; written and audio logs from oceanographic cruises and submersible dives; photographs, 35mm slides,
videotapes, and motion pictures from research cruises and dives, including many underwater images; manuscripts, notes, and research materials from his book, The Face of
the Deep; and maps of the ocean floor prepared by Heezen and Marie Tharp. Related Heezen material, including data, worksheets and research maps are located at the Library
Bruce C. Heezen (1924-1977), oceanographer and geologist, received the B.A. degree from Iowa State University in 1948 and his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University
in 1952. Heezen's entire professional career was spent on the geology department faculty of Columbia University and as a scientist at the University's Lamont-Doherty Geological
Observatory. He was Research Associate, 1955-1957; Senior Research Scientist, 1957-1960; Assistant Professor, 1960-1964; and Associate Professor, 1964-1977. Heezen was also
a consultant with the United States Naval Oceanographic Office from 1968 until his death.
Heezen's interest in oceanography began in 1947 when as an undergraduate he was invited to join Maurice W. Ewing's expedition to study the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. His career
was marked by constant seagoing voyages and submersible dives to support research on turbidity currents, abyssal plains, continental drift, and other aspects of the ocean
floor. He was the author of over 300 scientific papers and several books including The Face of the Deep, with Charles D. Hollister in 1971. With his colleague Marie
Tharp, Heezen created many maps and panoramas of the ocean floor. Several of the maps were published in National Geographic magazine. Heezen died in 1977 while working in
the submersible NR-1 on the Reykjanes Ridge in the North Atlantic.
Heezen was a member and officer of numerous national and international organizations. He was the recipient of the Henry Bryant Bigelow Medal of the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, 1964; the Cullum Geographic Medal of the American Geographical Society, 1973; and the Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society, awarded
posthumously in 1978.
International Union of Geological Sciences-United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, "Symposium on Continental Drift Emphasizing the History of the South Atlantic Floor," October 16-19, 1967, Montevideo, Uruguay
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Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 296, Smithsonian Institution. Office of Telecommunications, Production Records