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Frank Richard Oastler collection

Call Number: WA MSS S-2162
Scope and Contents
The Frank Richard Oastler Collection consists of photograph albums, lantern slides, movie film, and photographic negatives documenting his interest in wildlife and conservation, from 1908-1938. The Collection is comprised of four series: Photograph Albums, Lantern Slides, Photographic Negatives, Motion Picture Film and is housed in 254 boxes. The collection does not include any significant collection of Oastler's personal papers. There are a few letters preserved with the photograph albums, and a few instances of writings in them as well.

Series I, Photograph Albums , 1912-1935, undated (boxes 1-69), consists of albums documenting the Oastlers' trips to the West and elsewhere and is arranged chronologically. Many of the albums are captioned, in manuscript, by the Oastlers. There are a small number of hand-colored photographs. While most of the photographs in the albums were taken by Oastler, a few commercial photographs and photographic postcards are also present. Commercial photographers whose work appears in the albums include Cross & Dimmitt; Asahel Curtis; T. Davis; Foster Photo Co. (Miles City, Montana); E.R. Freeman Photo; F. Gowen; Gurr Photo; Byron Harmon (Banff, Canada); Kiser Photo Co. (Portland, Oregon); L.D. Lindsley; Smith's Photo; Thieman [?] (Kalispell, Montana); Jim Thompson Co. (Knoxville, Tennessee); A. Wilkes; and Winter & Pond Co. (Juneau, Alaska).

The albums include items laid in loose; their presence has been noted in the finding aid. Those items which when flattened were too large to fit into the album have been removed to a separate box at the end of the series, or have been placed in Oversize, as appropriate. The early albums also occasionally include other textual material: a typescript account of a trip to Glacier National Park, Montana (box 3), a holograph poem for a drowned horse (box 8), a list of a guide's vocabulary (box 10).

Series II, Lantern Slides , consists of approximately 6400 lantern slides used for Dr. Oastler's lectures on the West. (Scripts for these lectures, however, are not present.) Most of the slides are hand-colored; some duplicate images in the photograph albums. The hand coloring was done by Mildred Petry, under the direct supervision of Dr. Oastler. The lantern slides are organized into two subseries: Lantern Slides in Oastler's Classification (ca. 5500 slides), and Unclassified Lantern Slides.

A combination of classification indices and topical indices, portions of which are replicated in this finding aid, provide detailed geographic and topical subject access to the slide collection. A key to the classification system can be found in a bound typescript in box 80. The first letter and number of the classification (e.g. A2) refers to the place in which the photograph was taken; for convenience, the finding aid includes these places as headings in the box listing. This listing, therefore, provides fairly detailed geographic access to the slides. A card index to the slides (boxes 70-79) provides more detailed topical subject access, by animal, plant name, etc. The cards also include the text of captions for each slide, which also appear on the slide casing. The card index appears to be very nearly complete, and includes cards for slides present in the collection but not included in the classification index. There are also cards for slides which are not now present in the collection. These missing slides have been noted in the corresponding box description in the finding aid. The topical headings employed in the card index, including types of flora, fauna, and place names depicted have been listed in Appendix I. Both the classification system and card index were received with the collection, and presumably were created either by the Oastlers or under their direct supervision.

The Unclassified Lantern Slides are organized into Panoramic Lantern Slides and Other Lantern Slides. There are nine panoramic lantern slides, which measure 8 x 25 cm. Other Lantern Slides include three sets of slides still in the traveling cases that Dr. Oastler used for his lectures (boxes 233-235). These traveling cases, labeled "Alaska Lecture," "Canadian Rockies Lecture," and "Isle Royale National Park, Michigan" include a few slides of other places as well. Not all of the slides in the traveling cases are captioned, but all are arranged and numbered in order of presentation during the lectures.

Series III, Photographic Negatives , 1920, undated (box 237), is organized into two subseries: Glass Plate Negatives and Cut Film Negatives. The glass plate negatives are a miscellaneous assortment of forty-five glass plate negatives. In addition to the contents of box 237, there are approximately eight boxes of cut film nitrate negatives, which are restricted. They are presumed to correspond to the prints assembled in the albums (Series I). For further information, contact the Western Americana curator.

Series IV. Film Surrogates contains four copies of films made by Frank Richard Oastler that record undated trips to Glacier National Park and to Yellowstone National Park, a trip down the Colorado River in 1925, and a trip to Alaska in 1927. The original films were badly deteriorated and the Beinecke Library pursued extensive conservation of these four prior to the transfer of the films to the Library of Congress.

Oversize , broadside folders 294-295a, contains material from Series I and II, and is arranged in box order.

Restricted Fragile Material in Box 239 consist of originals for which preservation copies have been made.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Material: Cut film negatives, glass negatives (box 239), and films (boxes 241-252) may be consulted only with permission of the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
The Frank Richard Oastler Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Maude Matthews Oastler in memory of Dr. Frank Richard Oastler. Transferred from the School of Forestry to Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, 1983. Transferred from Manuscripts and Archives to Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, 1998.
Associated Materials
204 black and white 16mm motion picture films documenting the Oastlers' Western trips and visits to other national parks, accompanied by various descriptive notes, transferred to Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, 2012.
1908 - 1938
128 Linear Feet ((254 boxes) + 3 broadsides)
Related Names
Oastler, Frank Richard, 1871-1936
Language of Materials