As many parts of the United States dig in for the winter months, it seemed like a good time to highlight images of unique geological formations, and botanical specimens, undisturbed by a blanket of snow. The series 79-HPS: Henry Peabody Collection, 1959 – 1960 is a collection donated to the National Parks Service in 1959, by the daughter of Henry G. Peabody, a view photographer focused on covering the landscape of the American West(external link), and accessioned by the National Archives in 1960. According to the Series Description on the National Archives Catalog, 79-HPS is comprised of lantern slides consisting of photographs of geological formations, trails, forests, lakes, and rivers in various Western national parks and monuments, as well as other locations Peabody had interest in. The following digitized lantern slides are a sample from the Desert and Mesa files, which includes images covering a territory spanning New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, as illustrated in by the map in 79-HPS-2-1592.
I found these images fascinating due to their hand-coloring and focus, but I was particularly drawn to the “Goblet of Venus” in 79-HPS-2-3155 due to its unique structure. Unfortunately, after diving a little deeper, I learned the formation is no longer standing due to what’s called Geovandalism(external link). Though this beautifully unique formation no longer exists, the region where it once stood is flush with history and culture which the National Park Service is actively protecting(external link).
Including the images highlighted above, there are 31 boxes of lantern slides from the Peabody Collection that have been digitized and added to our Catalog, covering topics ranging from Landmarks of Boston, to the Grand Canyon National Park. In order to access these images on our catalog, navigate to the Series Description page for 79-HPS, find and click the link: [#] file unit(s) described in the catalog, in the Details section, and select the subject of interest. From there, find and click the link [#] item(s) described in the catalog, in the Details section, and enjoy!
The Still Picture Branch of the National Archives defines a Lantern Slide as a positive transparency made or mounted on glass – usually 3 1/4″x4″ in size.