The World’s First Photograph Ever Taken

The first photo picture depicting a view from the window at Le Gras was taken in 1825 by a French inventor Joseph Niepce.

View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27 (manually enhanced version)
View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27     (manually enhanced version)
World's first photograph - Original Plate
World’s first photograph – Original Plate

The world’s first photograph, housed in its original presentational frame and sealed within an atmosphere of inert gas in an airtight steel and Plexiglas storage frame, must be viewed under controlled lighting in order for its image to be visible. In general, this procedure requires viewing the plane of the pewter plate at an angle of approximately 30° to the perpendicular and in exact opposition to a point source of light, preferably within a darkened environment free of other incidental light sources.

The view, made from an upper, rear window of the Niépce family home in Burgundy, represents (from left to right): the upper loft (or, so-called “pigeon-house”) of the family house; a pear tree with a patch of sky showing through an opening in the branches; the slanting roof of the barn, with the long roof & low chimney of the bake house behind it; and, on the right, another wing of the family

By that time people already knew how to project pictures, they just didn’t know how to preserve and save light. Niepce came up with the idea of using a petroleum derivative called “Bitumen of Judea”. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light and the unhardened material was then washed away. The metal plate, was then polished rendering a negative image which then was coated with ink producing a print. One of the numerous problems with this method was that the metal plate was heavy, expensive to produce, and took a lot of time to polish.

Camera Obscura:

Photography is an art form invented in 1839. Before photography was created, people already knew the principles of how it eventually got to work. They could process the image on the wall or piece of paper, however no printing was possible as preserving light was lot harder task than projecting it. Around for a few centuries before photography came along, the instrument that people used for processing pictures was called the Camera Obscura (which is Latin for the Dark Room).

Camera Obscura - In Action
Camera Obscura – In Action
Use of Camera Obscura
Use of Camera Obscura

Today analogue photography is based on the principles on which camera obscura works. Camera Obscura is essentially a dark, closed box with a hole on one side of it. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box to make the camera obscura work properly. It works on the optical laws, the light coming through a tiny hole transforms and creates an image on the surface that it meets, i.e. the wall of the box. The image will be mirrored and upside down. In the mid 16th century, Giovanni Battista della Portacentury, an Italian scholar, wrote an essay on how to use camera obscura to make the drawing process easier. He projected the image of people outside the camera obscura on the canvas inside of it (camera obscura was a rather big room in this case) and then drew over the image.

Rare World War I posters to be sold in online auction

A collection of about 2,000 posters from the World War I era by US army officer Edward H. McCrahon, considered to be one of the world’s best collections will be sold during an online auction on June 30 and July 1.

About half of the posters are from the US, while others are in various languages from more than 15 countries including France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Cuba and China. All these art works expected to fetch between $200 to $5,000 are patriotic, with topics ranging from fundraising and food rationing to women’s war efforts, enlistment and animal aid.

The famous poster of a stern-looking, top-hatted Uncle Sam pointing a finger with the words “I want you for US army”, is one among them. J. M. Flagg’s 1917 poster, based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster of three years earlier, was used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, and veteran Walter Botts provided the pose.

Uncle Sam pointing a finger with the words "I want you for US army”
Uncle Sam pointing a finger with the words “I want you for US army”

The largest poster is a massive 9 x 14 ft. American work urging people to “Give or Perish,” that was made on behalf of the Armenian Relief Fund.

Largest poster 9-by-14 foot "Give or Perish"
Largest poster 9-by-14 foot “Give or Perish”

“It appears that from the very beginning it was always looked at as the most comprehensive assemblage of posters of many different nationalities pertaining to their involvement in World War I” said Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey’s.

Edward H. McCrahon, who was born in Brooklyn, started the collection after he joined the French Army in 1917. He became enthralled with the colorful, graphic posters encouraging citizens to support the war and continued collecting after enlisting with the U.S. armed forces. When WWI ended Mr McCrahon devoted all of his time to enlarging the collection, and by the 1930s he began to exhibit it around the country.

“There are many posters in this collection that have never been seen before,” said Ettinger. “It really is a time capsule of a different era, when these things were very stirring, patriotic and treasured,” Ettinger added.

Grandma finds photo of herself taken 70 years ago in newly released Nanjing Archives

Xu, an 84 year old grandma found a picture of herself as a teenager for the first time among the household registration cards that was made available to the public by the Nanjing Archives in the capital city of east China’s province. The organisation has invited local residents to look through the household registration cards of the Republic of China (1912-1949) on May 26.

The archive has completed the digitisation process of the sorted and categorised household registration cards. The archive has added 1.5 million cards to the fourth list of China’s archival document heritage, to help local residents to trace the life of their family history.

Xu, who came to look for her father’s file, found the household cards of all her family’s members, including herself aged 15, all registered in 1947. On her card, the photo featured a vigorous face and a pair of bright eyes. She was still registered as a high school student under her original family name “Lu.” She was later renamed Xu by her relative, who took care of her later.

“I didn’t expect to see this photo. Actually, my family never had such a photo,” said Xu with smile.

Xu Zhang, 84, shows her teen photo on her family's household registration card [Yangtze Evening Post/Zhang Ke]
Xu Zhang, 84, shows her teen photo on her family’s household registration card [Yangtze Evening Post/Zhang Ke]
The Nanjing Archives stated that these household registration cards are of great value to researchers, as they provide reference to study Nanjing’s historic changes, records of Nanjing’s then population, residents’ occupations, educational backgrounds as well as personal photos and also allowing residents to search for their missing relatives.

All about slides and different types of slides

Slides:

Before digital photography was the norm, prints and slides were generally two methods of processing film. Prints were developed on a sheet of photo paper, while slides were small, transparent pieces of film in a cardboard sandwich.

‘Slide’ commonly refers to a 35 mm photographic positive image comprising chromogenic dyes on a transparent base held inside a plastic or card mount intended for projection onto a screen using a slide projector. Without this mount, the transparent film material would not be able to slide from one image to another inside a carousel or magazine when projected.

Kodak Carousel slide projector
Kodak Carousel slide projector

A 35 mm slide can be magnified by a factor of 100 (from 35 mm to 3,500 mm) and still maintain a crisp and detailed projected image. The size of what you see displayed on the screen is based on the distance from the projector. The further away from the screen, the larger the 35mm Slides will display.

Kodak advertisement in LIFE, 5 October 1959 p.68
Kodak advertisement in LIFE, 5 October 1959 p.68

Kodak’s commercial slogan during the 1950s was: ‘For sparkling pictures big as life … Kodak 35mm colour slides’. During the 35 years of their popularity, from 1960s to the mid-1990s, processing costs for slides to create high-quality projected images were relatively low. They were widely used to capture performances, journeys and the lives of artists and used in contexts ranging from domestic to commercial applications such as advertising, arts, fashion and industry. No other medium could compete with the ability of slides to produce large-scale projected images of comparable excellence. Video technology, for example, could only produce a fraction of the quality. Alternative technologies such as 16 mm film involved elaborate production process. The only other format that was readily available on a similar budget, without the need of professional post-production was 8 mm film, produced for the home movie market. Both 16 mm and 8 mm film are moving image media and hence produce a very different quality of image.

Many art historians still refer to slide-based artworks as slide-tape. This term dates from the 1970s when magnetic audio-tapes in cassette format were used to store a tone that cued slide changes alongside the audio track or spoken word accompanying the images.

Information About the different slides in your Slide Collection

The image advertisements many movie theaters show before the movies are usually, projected 35mm slides. Below, you will find some of the different types of slides:

135 Slide (35mm Slide)126 “Instamatic” Slide

35mmSlide

127 Super Slide

127-slide

126 Slide

126-slide

110 Slide

110-slide

old “3D” or “Stereo” slides

3dslide-cardboard

Medium Format, 120  slide

medium-formatLarge Format Slide Transparency

large-format

Airequipt slides

slide_types_10_metal

Glass Slides

slide_types_09b_glass

Digitisation blog: Scanning tips, DPI and Resolution

WHY SCAN?

Chances are you have a stack of photo albums, negatives and slides change color and fade with time due to collection of dust and exposure to light. Having your photos, negatives and slides digitised protects them from being lost or damaged and you can cherish the good old memories for lifetime. Scanning photos opens up so many doors to how you enjoy your memories with the easy to use digital Sharing options.

Photos and Slides Fade

Colour photos stored in ideal conditions will fade over time. The primary cause of fading is due to exposure to light. Another main cause is simply the way the photo was developed. The material used to create the photo has a limited lifespan and will start to fade.

Photos Change Color

The chemical reaction used to produce the old photos on the paper is not permanent and the photo starts to break down and lose its colour over time. The most common reaction is a yellow haze or a reddish haze that develops over the photo. The scanning process utilises software that attempts to correct this problem, thus bringing back the natural colour of the photo in digital form.

Photos and Slides Have Dust and Scratches

Slides are particularly easy to scratch and always have some amount of dust on them. By scanning, minor dust and scratches from the final image can be eliminated easily to obtain clearer image resulted due to digital ICE procedure.

Keep Your Photos and Slides Safe From Disaster

Unfortunately the precious photos and slides stored in boxes or albums are subjected  to possible fire, water or smoke damage, animals, pets, theft, or simply misplacing them. Scanning them to digital format allows you to have all your photos and slides on a DVD and having them on your computer.

For Gifting and Sharing and Sharing With Friends and Family

Once you get your photos and slides on a DVD, you can share them with family members.  You can also have the images on a USB which you can simply plug into your computer or HDTV, which will give access to the digital images. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are making it easier than ever to share your photos with friends and family. Scanning your photos and slides lets you share those precious memories easily and quickly. These digital files will also make great gifts which you can make use of to create photo books, calendars and similar wonderful gifts for a family member or friend.

CHOOSING SCANNER

The first thing to decide when beginning with scanning is what type of scanner you want. There are various kinds of scanners available. When choosing your scanner, there are two important features that you should look for:

Scanner Resolution

A better scanner resolution will mean a better quality scan of your photo which makes it really important. It’s best to look for a scanner that gives you a resolution of at least 3000 dpi.

Dynamic Range

A scanner’s Dynamic Range relates to how much detail the scanner can bring out in highlights and shadows. It’s measured on a scale of 0-4 and is usually called Dmax. Ideally, look for a scanner with at least a rating of 3.

SCANNING TIPS:

For the highest quality, set up your scanner in a dust-free environment. First, remove any dust or dirt from your photo prints with a microfiber cloth or alcohol-based cleaning wipe. It’s important that you thoroughly clean both the photos and scanner, as the scanner’s sensitive sensor will pick up even a speck of dust on the glass or on the photo.

Here are tips to how to clean the glass on your scanner safely and effectively:

Step 1: Unplug the power cord from the scanner.

Step 2: Using a soft, lint-free cloth, like a microfiber cloth, wipe off the dust from the scanner glass.

Step 3: If the glass has smudges or other contaminants, use a little bit of glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe the glass.

Step 4: Using a dry microfiber cloth, dry off any remaining moisture or residue.

Do not use any glass cleaners that contain the following cleaning agents:

Acetone, ammonia, benzene, carbon tetrachloride

The above chemicals can damage the scanner glass. Though some manufacturers suggest using isopropyl alcohol, it tends to leave streaks.

We also do not recommend using compressed air for dusting because the force of the air could end up blowing dust into the edges of the scanner and end up underneath the glass, which is a lot harder to clean.

Before you scan the photos, consider the way in which you’ll organise them – by date or by event? How will the files be named? Choose a system before you scan, and organise your printed photos, negatives and slides into stacks accordingly.

Here are some tips:

Scan multiple photos at once. On an average-sized scanner bed, you should be able to scan four 4×6 photos at once, and crop them later. Some scanners even come with software that does this automatically for you. Use this method to cut down scanning time.

Select a resolution of at least 300 dpi and up to 600 dpi for photos, if you plan to order enlargements.

Take advantage of editing options. Most scanning software will allow you to crop, adjust colour and brightness, remove scratches, dust and red-eye.

CHOOSING A RESOLUTION

For photo prints, 300 dpi is fine in general. To make sure you get all the details hidden in your prints, scan at 600 dpi. Scanning beyond 600 dpi will make the files bigger without giving you any additional image detail. Plus, higher the resolution, the more time it takes to scan each photo.

For slides and negatives, 2000 dpi will give you the equivalent of a 6-megapixel photo, which is good enough for most standard print sizes. If the scanner can go higher (such as 4000 dpi), take advantage of it to enable high-quality cropping.

RESOLUTION, DPI AND PPI

The resolution of a digital photo is its pixels, expressed as megapixels – the horizontal pixel dimensions multiplied by its vertical pixel dimensions.

DPI stands for Dots Per Pixel. It is a measure of the number of dots that can be placed within a 1 inch span line.

PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch. It is the digital photo’s pixels dimension divided into the size of the paper to be printed. PPI occurs only when it is printed.

WHICH FILE FORMAT?

JPEG(Joint Photographic Experts Group): Sometimes referred to as JPG. JPEG is the standard file format and compatible image format supported by almost all of today’s imaging software. Some image data is lost when the file is compressed. The amount of compression can be varied. More the compression, more data is discarded and smaller a file becomes. JPEG is great for creating smaller file sizes for uploading on the Internet, or for use with e-mail.

PROS:

  • Smaller File Size: JPEG uses lossy compresion to reduce file size making its use on the Internet or creating backup CDs hassle free.
  • Supported by most software and photo sharing websites.

CONS:

  • Lossy Compresion: Lossy means with data loss. JPEG compression does discard some image data based on the amount of compression used.
  • High Quality but not the absolute best.
  • Not a good choice for editing: JPEG files use lossy compression. If you plan to edit a photo and then re-save it, you will lose some quality. It loses quality, detail and information each time you edit and re-save it.

TIFF(Tagged Image File Format): TIFF (RAW) format is the standard for most commercial and professional printing needs. TIFF format means that no image data is lost after scanning. It is a great choice for archiving images where all details must be preserved and file size is not a consideration. TIFF files are very large in size compared to JPEGs because no compression is used.

PROS:

  • No Compression: TIFF files are not compressed files. This means 100% of the data captured during scanning is retained.
  • Absolute best quality.
  • Better choice if you plan to edit because TIFF files don’t use compression and quality is not lost each time the photo is edited.

CONS:

  • Large File Size: TIFF files are much larger than JPEGs making them harder to upload or email.
  • Not supported by most photo sharing websites but is supported by most software.

HOW BIG WILL MY FILES BE?

This depends on the format they are saved to. The charts below list file sizes you can expect from TIFF and JPEG files.

35 MM FILM SCANNING: PIXEL & FILE SIZE OF A STANDARD 35MM FRAME
Scan Resolution Pixel Dimensions Megapixels JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
2000 DPI 2700 x 1800 4.8 2.2 MB – 3.8 MB 14.2 MB
3000 DPI 4050 x 2700 10.9 4.3 MB – 7.1 MB 32.0 MB
4000 DPI 5400 x 3600 19.4 6.7 MB – 10.8 MB 56.9 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
35 MM FILM SCANNING: PIXEL & FILE SIZE OF A STANDARD 35MM FRAME
Scan Resolution Pixel Dimensions Megapixels JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
2000 DPI 2700 x 1800 4.8 2.2 MB – 3.8 MB 14.2 MB
3000 DPI 4050 x 2700 10.9 4.3 MB – 7.1 MB 32.0 MB
4000 DPI 5400 x 3600 19.4 6.7 MB – 10.8 MB 56.9 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
300 DPI PRINT SCANS:
Pixel Dimensions JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
3 X 5 900 x 1500 650 KB – 1 MB 3.9 MB
4 X 6 1200 x 1800 1.1 MB – 1.6 MB 6.3 MB
5 X 7 1500 x 2100 1.6 MB – 2.3 MB 9.2 MB
8 X 10 2400 x 3000 3.2 – 4.5 MB 21.2 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
600 DPI PRINT SCANS:
Pixel Dimensions JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
3 X 5 1800 x 3000 2.4 MB – 3.5 MB 15.8 MB
4 X 6 2400 x 3600 3.6 MB – 5.2 MB 25.3 MB
5 X 7 3000 x 4200 4.8 MB – 6.9 MB 36.9 MB
8 X 10 4800 x 6000 9.1 MB – 14.3 MB 84.4 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.

150 years old Mark Twain stories uncovered by the scholars

Twain’s articles, about 150 years old, written when the author was a young newsman in San Francisco,have been tracked down by the Scholars at the University of California, Berkeley.

Author Mark Twain(via AP)
Author Mark Twain(via AP)

Twain’s job was to write a 2,000-word story or letter every day for publication in the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada, six days a week for a salary of $100 a month. He wrote about everything from San Francisco police to mining accidents. The scholars picked through archives of other western U.S. newspapers for copies. They have found about 110 columns written in 1865 and 1866.

“This is new stuff, even for Mark Twain fans,” Hirst told the Chronicle. Bob Hirst is editor of the UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain project and says the articles were found when looking through western newspaper archives.

In one letter, Twain suggested tough punishment for corrupt police officers in San Francisco, saying they were less useful than “wax figurines,” as reported by the Chronicle.

Hirst said that the articles were written at a time of when Twain was trying to decide in which direction to take his career. “It’s really a crisis time for him,” Hirst said. “He’s going to be 30 on 30 November 1865, and for someone not to have chosen a career by that time in this period was quite unusual.” He was in debt and drinking heavily, and even wrote to his brother that he was committing suicide, saying: “If I do not get out of debt in three months – pistols or poison for one – exit me.”

The articles are the perfect example of Twain’s matchless style.

Bob Hirst, the general editor of the Mark Twain Project, with a book of 1866 Sacramento Union newspapers at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
Bob Hirst, the general editor of the Mark Twain Project, with a book of 1866 Sacramento Union newspapers at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

New online archive features rare African photos

 

100,000 original Black and white negatives, dating back from 1940’s, of Mali’s most famous photographers, will be digitised using a $300,000 National endowment for the Humanities grant.

The archive features family portraits and photos of military activities, diplomatic visits, political events, national monuments, architecture, cultural and religious ceremonies and other aspects of popular culture.

Candace keller, assistant professor of African art history and visual culture, is collaborating with MSU’s MATRIX: The centre for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and the Maison Africaine de la Photographie in Bamako, Mali, to create the Archive of Malian Photography by digitising and restoring the negatives thereby protecting them from further damage.

Access will be provided only to the low-resolution photos making them unusable in print but still useful for research and scholarship and protecting photos from further exploitation. “These photos have the potential to shape the way photographic history and cultural practice in West Africa are taught and studied since the concepts displayed go beyond what we’re used to seeing: village-based lifestyles,” said Keller.

Keller’s current two-year project is the second phase of the Archive of Malian Photography project. She and her team have already digitised 28,000 Malian photos using a grant from the British Library Endangered Archives Programme.

 

Negatives from Malian photographer Abdourahmane Sakaly’s collection being processed for Michigan State University’s Archive of Malian Photography.
Negatives from Malian photographer Abdourahmane Sakaly’s collection being processed for Michigan State University’s Archive of Malian Photography.

Courtesy: Michigan State University

Digitised collection of historical NYPD crime scene photos to be available online

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has photographed crime scenes of traffic accidents, parades, or public events almost since the technology was available. A new grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will support the digitisation of around 30,000 of these photographs from 1914 to 1975, making them available to the public for the first time. All these photos were stored in boxes after the conclusion of cases and stored away out of sight in a basement.

In 2012, the New York City Municipal Archives released 870,000 pictures online of the total of 2.2 million photographs, videos, audio files, and other material to be made viewable for public.

Some might seem strangely familiar to those taken by the famous well known crime photographer Weegee. For example, a NYPD shot of murder victim Dominick Didato on Elizabeth Street in 1936 focuses on the gun on the pavement and the blood stains on his back, while the more artistically inclined Weegee angled toward the blood splatter seeping from the body. One of the more unassuming photographs, of a murdered girl’s bedroom in the Bronx in 1939, may give you chills: it has an eerie doll posed on the bed. Others show protests at Columbia University in the 1960s and police burning “indecent” books in 1935 at their Manhattan headquarters.

If all goes according to schedule, the prints will be scanned starting in July 2015 and will be made available for viewing shortly afterwards through the Municipal Archives Online Gallery.

A-three-in-one-weapon-obtained-by-police-officers..jpg
A-three-in-one-weapon-obtained-by-police-officers..jpg
 Doll on the bed of Virginia Bender at East 137th Street in the Bronx. It was here where she was found dead from apparent strangulation and stabbing. (June 1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives).jpg

Doll on the bed of Virginia Bender at East 137th Street in the Bronx. It was here where she was found dead from apparent strangulation and stabbing. (June 1939) (courtesy New York City Municipal Archives).jpg

On 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, massive archive goes online

On 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, a massive online archive is in the works that contains more than 100,000 documents, all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime. More recently discovered letters and documents are also being added to the digital archive as time passes.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, is a project sponsored by The University of Illinois and the Abraham Lincoln Association. Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’ Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865.

Data storage vendor Iron Mountain has provided 40TB of online cloud storage for the project, So far, the archive includes more than 67,000 written documents available in image form online where users can browse or search by title and date.

The Papers consist of three types:

Series I: Legal Papers, which cover Lincoln’s time practicing law from 1836 to 1861; The collection encompasses the surviving record of his quarter-century career in the federal, state and county court systems.

Series II: Illinois Papers, which encompass Lincoln’s non-legal life from his birth in February 1809 through March 3, 1861, the day before his inauguration. The papers include personal and political correspondence, political speeches, and all other non-legal materials

Series III: Presidential Papers, which include a massive documentary record of an active president engaged in leading a nation during wartime.

The archive also contains images of some of the most historically significant documents penned by Lincoln, such as one of the five original copies of the Gettysburg Address.

 One of the five extant copies of the Gettysburg Address. Courtesy of the White House Historical Association.jpg

One of the five extant copies of the Gettysburg Address. Courtesy of the White House Historical Association.jpg

The archives also contain documents illustrating a more personal side to the Civil War-era president and his constituency — no matter how old they were such as a letter to 11-year old Grace Bedell on Oct. 19, 1860 who had suggested Lincoln grow a beard because his face was so thin.

Lincoln in 1864
Lincoln in 1864

“President Lincoln’s legacy as a statesman has marked him as one of the most important and influential leaders our country and the world have ever known,” Daniel Stowell, director and editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, stated in a news release. “He was also perhaps the most well-written, and written to, presidents in history, with thousands of personal and political documents, all of which tell the story of our country during one of the most pivotal times in history.”

Photos from: http://www.papersofabrahamlincoln.org/

Rare first edition of the 1815 Map of England and Wales digitised

Geological Society Archivists have unearthed “the map that changed the world”, a rare early copy of William Smith’s 1815 geological Map of England and Wales. This is the first geological map of a nation ever produced which shows the geological strata of England, Wales and part of Scotland. The completely restored and digitised map is available on the Geological Society’s Image Library, just in time for the map’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

The newly discovered map is thought to be one of the first ten produced by William Smith (1769-1839), who produced and estimates 370 hand coloured copies of the map in his lifetime. William Smith was called the “Father of English Geology”, who developed the science of stratigraphy and geological mapping. The geological surveys around the world were influenced by the map of England and Wales, which also became the basis for all future geological maps of Britain.

‘The map was found among completely unrelated material, so at first I didn’t realise the significance of what I’d uncovered’ says Victoria Woodcock, who founded the map, who was then the Society’s Archive Assistant. ‘Once we had worked out that it was an early copy of one of the earliest geological maps ever made, I was astonished. It’s the kind of thing that anyone working in archives dreams of, and definitely the highlight of my career so far!’

William Smith map 1815. Photo - The Geological Society
William Smith map 1815.
Photo – The Geological Society

‘Smith’s importance to the history of our science cannot be overstated’ says John Henry, Chair of the Geological Society’s History of Geology Group. ‘His map is a remarkable piece of work. It helped shape the economic and scientific development of Britain, at a time before geological surveys existed.’