Guide to the Lage Wernstedt photographs
circa 1916-1935

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wernstedt, Lage
Title: Lage Wernstedt photographs
Dates: circa 1916-1935 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 linear ft.
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0259Wernstedt
Summary: Lage Wernstedt photographs include photographs and glass plate negatives of mountains, glaciers, rivers, and lakes in the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Wernstedt was a surveyor and cartographer for the U.S. Forest Service in the early and mid twentieth century.
Repository: Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Contact Information: Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Languages: Collection materials are in English.  

Historical Note

Lage Wernstedt, born in 1878 in Sweden, attended the Royal Technological School in Stockholm before immigrating to the United States in 1902. He earned a master’s degree in Forestry at Yale University and then moved to the west coast and took a job in 1908 with the United States Forest Service. For 25 years he worked as a surveyor and map-maker throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Almost single-handedly he mapped the Columbia National Forest (now the Gifford Pinchot). He also did mapping in the Willamette, Umpqua, Mt Baker, Deschutes and Chelan Forests and the Pasayten Wilderness. While engaged in his employment he became a noted photographer and mountain climber who was the first to summit many peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, Wernstedt was proficient in photogrammetry, silviculture, geography, botany, horsepacking, and parachute-assisted firefighting. He also invented aerial stereoscopic photography to produce contour maps.

Wernstedt married Adele (Dot) Wilcox in 1919 with whom he had one son, Frederick, and one daughter, Doris. The Wernstedts lived in Portland, Oregon until Lage's retirement in 1942 when they moved permanently to their summer home on Waldron Island and then Guemes Island. Wernstedt died in 1959 at the age of 81.

References: Geof Childs, “A Ridge Too Far,” Northwest Mountaineering Journal [accessed 6/18/07 ]. Lewis A. McArthur and Victor H. Flach, "We Present: Lage Wernstedt: Pioneer in Photogrammetry," Journal of Forestry, Vol. 43 (Feb. 1945).

Content Description

The Lage Wernstedt Photograph collection documents some of the mountains, glaciers, rivers, and lakes in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska from 1916 to 1935. The collection primarily consists of glass plate negatives, although there are three photographs. The locations of the majority of the images are unknown; however some have been identified. They include Multnomah Falls, Oregon; the Columbia River Gorge; Reid Glacier and White River Glacier, Oregon; Mt. Hood, Oregon; Mt. Baker, Washington; Adam’s Glacier and Mount Adams Wilderness, Washington.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

This collection is open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

Lage Wernstedt photographs, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Lage Wernstedt Photograph collection is organized in accordance with the following series arrangement:

  • Series I: Photographs and Negatives, circa 1916-1935.
Acquisition Information :  

Donated by John Scurlock, 2006

Processing Note :  

Archival TIFF images were created by scanning images at 300 dpi.

Bibliography :  
  • Childs, Geof."A Ridge Too Far." Northwest Mountaineering Journal. 18 June 2007.
  • McArthur, Lewis A. and Victor H. Flach."We Present: Lage Wernstedt: Pioneer in Photogrammetry." Journal of Forestry, Vol. 43. 1945 February.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I :  Photographs and Negativescirca 1916-1935
Subseries 1: Original glass plate negatives and photographs
To view item-level descriptions of images in the Lage Wernstedt collection, follow this hyperlink to the photo database on the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies' website.
1 Sixty-one glass plate negatives of the North Cascades circa 1930s
2/1 Mt. Baker 1935
2/2 Mt. Baker 1935
2/3 North Cascades including description 1929
Subseries 2: Scanned Images 1928-1935
2/4 Aerial photographs on two CDs 1928-1935

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Geographical Names :
  • Baker, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Cascade Range--Photographs
  • Columbia River Gorge (Or. and Wash.)--Photographs
  • Hood, Mount (Or.)--Photographs
  • Mount Adams Wilderness (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Multnomah Falls (Or.)--Photographs
  • Subject Terms :
  • Glaciers--Oregon--Photographs
  • Glaciers--Washington (State)--Adams, Mount--Photographs
  • Mountains--Alaska--Photographs
  • Mountains--Northwest, Canadian--Photographs
  • Mountains--Northwest, Pacific--Photographs

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