Front of Barry Glacier Merriam, Clinton Hart  (American, 1855-1902)

Harriman, Edward H, and C H. Merriam. Harriman Alaska Expedition. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1901.

In 1899 Edward Harriman organized and financed the largest and most famous scientific expedition the world had ever seen, the Harriman Alaska Expedition. Scientists made over 600 important discoveries during the expedition, and created an invaluable survey and assessment of Alaska in the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, when the Territory was going through major transition. The project would lend impetus to the nascent movement to preserve America’s wilderness, a movement spearheaded by Harriman Expedition member John Muir, and soon after by Curtis’s greatest champion Theodore Roosevelt. Curtis was named the official photographer of the Expedition, on which he met and worked with many of the great scientific luminaries of the day. One of these was George Bird Grinnell, with whom Curtis went to live in Montana the following year to photograph the Blackfeet and Piegan. It was the watershed moment in Curtis’s professional life, and launched him on his thirty year mission to create The North American Indian. Without his seminal experiences on the Harriman Alaska Expedition, it is doubtful that Curtis would ever have envisioned or created his masterwork.