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Stereographs Project

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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Dr. Isaac I. Hayes

Other: Isaac I. Hayes 
Other: Isaac Israel Hayes 
Dates:  1832, 5 March - 1881, 17 December
Born:  USA, Pennsylvania, Chester County
Died:  USA, NY, New York City
Active:  US / Arctic
Arctic explorer, physician, and politician. Ship's surgeon for the Second Grinnell Expedition of 18531855. From 1860 to 1861 led his own Artic expedition. During the expedition he, along with his personal secretary, George Knorr, and the Assistant Expedition Astronomer, Henry Radcliffe, and the Expedition Sail Master, Samuel McCormick, took approximately 200 stereo photographs. The photographs were printed, and marketed by New York photographer Thomas C. Roche.
I.I. Hayes, 1867, The Open Polar Sea: A Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery towards the North Pole, in the Schooner United States, (London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston)
[Early Experiments with photography}
I found consolation, however, in my sketch-book, which was in constant use; and one fine day I got out my photographic apparatus. Landing on a neighboring island, with the aid of my two young assistants, Radcliffe and Knorr, I made my first trial at this new business. It was altogether unsatisfactory, except to convince me that, with perseverance, we might succeed in obtaining at least fair pictures.
Practically I knew nothing whatever of the art. It was a great disappointment to me that I could not secure for the expedition the services of a professional photographer; but this deficiency did not, I am happy to say, prevent me, in the end, from obtaining some views characteristic of the rugged beauties of the Arctic landscape. We had, however, only books to guide us. With our want of knowledge and an uncomfortable temperature to contend with, we labored under serious disadvantages. pp. 45-46
[Storm destroying photographic tent]
Our stay at the glacier was brought suddenly to an end by a violent storm of wind and snow, and both ourselves and our Esquimau companions were forced to seek other shelter. The storm came from the northeast, and the first mischief done was to pick Hans's tent up and carry it off down the valley like a balloon, and finally to drop it in the lake. Without waiting long to lament over the unhappy circumstance, the whole Esquimau party set out for Etah. As they passed our tent, Kalutunah stopped a moment at the door, and despite the fierce wind and the snow which covered him all over, he still bore the same imperturbable grin. "You should have seen Hans's tent!" said he; and the old fellow fairly shook with laughter, as he recalled the ridiculous scene of the suddenly unhoused party and their vanishing tent tearing away toward the lake. But his satisfaction reached its climax when he informed us that it was going to blow harder, and that our turn would come directly. Sure enough it was as the savage had predicted; for, soon afterward, we heard a great noise,--the photographic tent had given way, the instruments and plates were scattering over the stones, the glasses were being all crushed up into little bits; and, while we were springing up to go out and save the wreck, our windward guys gave way, and our canvas protection following the example of Hans's seal-skins, left us standing in the very jaws of the storm. As may be supposed, we did not delay long in finding our way back on board. pp. 392-393
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Boston, MA, US 
Washington, DC, US 
[6-7] "Photographer"; he was self-taught; first views were very rare ones during his expedition to Greenland 60-61 (views taken summer of 61), pub. by T.C. Roche, #s to 72; extensive details on rev. labels; ship at Port Foulke, Esquimaux dance, camp scene, etc.; also made view of Brown & Sharpe/Universal Milling Machine, early "advertising view", ~62. Listed in Boston ~60-70. Holdings at Gilman Paper Co, NY (9), Smithsonian (13). 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
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Mathew B. Brady
[Isaac Israel Hayes] 
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