Field Research Photographs, c. 1909-1924

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.


This collection was found in several boxes in the archives and rehoused in FY 2000. It consists of glass plate negatives of specimens from the Burgess Shale in the Rocky Mountains, near Field, British Columbia, Canada collected by Charles D. Walcott, Secretary. The collection was probably transferred to the Archives from the Department of Paleobiology where they were most likely stored. Materials include glass negatives of fossilized remains embedded in shale slabs and illustrations used in publications as well as lantern slides used to illustrate lectures. Many of the negatives appear to be original photographs possibly created by the Institution's photographer T.W. Smillie. Information inscribed on the old glass plate negative boxes was copied. The collection was kept in as much original order as possible, but housed according to size. Boxes 1-2 contain 4" x 5" glass plate negatives that were found in 12 original dry plate negative boxes. Although the negatives are filed together, a copy of the box lid was made which serves as a divider to separate one group of plates from those found in another box. It is not known if there is any order inherent with the plates from one box to another. Some boxes are marked with the name Resser and a date and some of the negatives have either numbers or descriptions on them. Charles Resser was an assistant to Walcott. Boxes 3-5 contain mostly 6" x 8" glass plate negatives of Burgess Shale specimens. Other negatives are copies of illustrated plates from Walcott's publications. Box 6 contains 5" x 7" glass negatives. Some have specimen or other types of identification numbers. Box 7 contains lantern slides depicting Walcott fieldwork at the Burgess Shale and hand-colored slides of wildflowers and camp scenes by Mary Vaux Walcott. The colored lantern slides are very fragile and sensitive to handling. Box 8 contains an 11" x 14" glass negative titled: "The Burgess Slab." It may represent a significant section of the fossils collected by Walcott, and the photograph was most likely taken by T.W. Smillie. It is a rare example of a camera original negative of an SI specimen in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Date Range

c. 1909-1924

Access Information

Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at



Collection record

Accession #

SIA Acc. 02-086


in progress

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives