The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs

  • Lowell_Skoog
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27 Jun 2013 21:48 - 28 Jun 2013 07:07 #210130 by Lowell_Skoog
The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs was created by Lowell_Skoog


Bob Spring (left), writer Byron Fish (center) and Ira Spring (kneeling) select photographs for one of their historic picture books, circa 1960. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Bob and Ira Spring Photographs, Negative #25732.


The Bob and Ira Spring B&W Photographs are now in UW Special Collections.

For mountaineers who came of age in the latter half of the 1900s, the photographs of Bob and Ira Spring have captured some of the most memorable and iconic images of our Northwest mountains.

In later years, the Spring brothers were best known for their 100 Hikes series of guidebooks. But early in their careers, many of their photographs illustrated mountaineering and skiing adventures.




Upper left: Joan Burton ski touring near Mt Rainier, c1958 (print #17276). Upper right: Forest fire fighters in the Cascades, c1958 (print #17884). Lower left: Hikers explore the Paradise Ice Caves on Mt Rainier, c1958 (print #18063). Lower right: Climbers at White Rock Lakes on the Ptarmigan Traverse, 1957 (print #16500).


Through a collaboration between the Spring family and the Mountaineers History Committee, the Bob and Ira Spring B&W photographs have now been indexed and transferred to UW Special Collections, where they can be accessed and enjoyed by the public.

A preliminary finding aid can be seen on the Mountaineers Archives website here:

mountaineers.org/history/findaids/spring-bw-photos.html

Eventually, the University will create the its own finding aid, which will reside on the Special Collections website:

www.lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/

The Spring photographs cover much more than just mountaineering. During their long careers, Bob and Ira Spring photographed every corner of the Northwest, from ocean beaches to dry scab-lands and from bustling cities to rugged logging camps. The collection also includes thousands of photographs from Alaska, Canada, the western U.S., and much more.

Working with the Spring family and the University to make these photographs accessible has been a long and rewarding experience. I hope this donation opens a new chapter in the appreciation of these wonderful and historic images.




Upper left: "Valley pounder" at Klapatchie Park, c1955 (negative #5275). Upper right: Fred Beckey climbing Lighthouse Tower, 1949 (negative #3410-x02). Lower left: Morton Loggers Jubilee, 1955 (negative #13625). Lower right: Gary Rose ice climbing on Mt Rainier, c1953 (negative #9128).

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  • JibberD
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29 Jun 2013 07:52 #210138 by JibberD
Replied by JibberD on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Really great, Lowell. Thank you!

It's incredible these things are available to the public. I hope they are respected and treated with great care. What a treasure trove for the right person or people. I can imagine future good work coming out of this collection once someone taps into it. Or maybe that's already underway?

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  • Jason_H.
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29 Jun 2013 23:58 #210144 by Jason_H.
Replied by Jason_H. on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Wonderful. Many of their books are in my book collection. Old photographs really appeal to me, especially because they are of so many places I have become familiar with. Awesome to see it will be preserved and shown to all.

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  • mikerolfs
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30 Jun 2013 06:11 #210145 by mikerolfs
Replied by mikerolfs on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
The quality of the scans is amazing. I bet the equipment used by UW doesn't look anything like my home copy/fax/scan unit.

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30 Jun 2013 18:39 #210148 by Lowell_Skoog
Replied by Lowell_Skoog on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs

The quality of the scans is amazing.  I bet the equipment used by UW doesn't look anything like my home copy/fax/scan unit.


Hi Mike,

Actually, those scans are mine, made on my home scanner (an Epson V700).  The UW hasn't scanned anything yet. I gave the UW 1000+ scans made during my indexing work. I imagine that UW will make a few more, but I've provided plenty of material to get their finding aid started.

Remarkably, Ira did not have a written index for these photos. The index was in his head.

When I interviewed Ira in 2001, I asked about using some of his pictures in my ski history book. He was agreeable, but he passed away before we could connect on that. Volunteering to help the family prepare the collection for donation was a mutually beneficial arrangement. I got to review the collection in far more depth than would be practical after they were donated, and the Springs and UW got hundreds of hours of free labor indexing and scanning. Everybody's happy in the end.

I scanned a lot more than just skiing pictures. The ones in this post are a few favorites.

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02 Jul 2013 11:08 #210156 by GerryH
Replied by GerryH on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Thanks so very, very much for your efforts on both behalf of preserving the Spring photographs, but for all of your other work in annotating, preserving and creating a record of exploration and recreation in our Cascades. One of the joys of growing up in Seattle was regularly seeing the Sunday Times Rotogravure (sp?) section (now renamed the PacificNW section), the cover of which featured the Springs' fantastic photos for many years. Those pictures really inspired us to get out to the coast, onto the water and into the mountains!
Gerry Haugen

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02 Jul 2013 16:08 #210162 by Lowell_Skoog
Replied by Lowell_Skoog on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
It's great to see enthusiasm for this collection.

It turns out that UW is not quite ready to have people come look through the collection. They need to complete some formalities and review the collection in detail to make sure everything is accounted for before letting people go through it. I don't know how long that will take.

So, you should give UW Special Collections a call before you plan a visit. Thanks for your patience.

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03 Jul 2013 23:10 #210165 by Salal
Replied by Salal on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
These photos and words helped me bond with the understanding of the cascades, olys and the nw in general early on. Looking foreword to when they become available. The photos stand out as the some of the best I have seen to date and make me wish I was alive before I was.

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  • jhamaker
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09 Jul 2013 14:13 #210186 by jhamaker
Replied by jhamaker on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Thank you spring family!

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11 Jul 2013 11:31 #210199 by Griff
Replied by Griff on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Thanks to ALL!! What great history here in these photos.

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  • flowing alpy
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11 Jul 2013 20:18 #210201 by flowing alpy
Replied by flowing alpy on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
they sure had a good eye for beauty.
b

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  • wapiti_bob
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13 Jul 2013 15:03 #210209 by wapiti_bob
Replied by wapiti_bob on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Thanks for sharing, great shots. I have often wondered what happened to the Springs Collection. I hope the U of W does a good job cataloging it. I went through a similar project with a friend on his dad's collection. Great NW photography that ended up at the U of Oregon in Eugene. If you get a chance look it up sometime. R Nevan McCullough collection.

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05 Aug 2013 12:32 #210271 by sprice
Replied by sprice on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Nice!!!

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07 Aug 2013 14:19 #210277 by danpeck
Replied by danpeck on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
This is really good. Thanks Lowell. It inspires to reach into the past and see how good people lived.

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17 Aug 2013 09:25 #210323 by Rainer
Replied by Rainer on topic Re: The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
Thank you Lowell for your effort!

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20 Feb 2021 20:27 #234736 by Lowell_Skoog
Replied by Lowell_Skoog on topic The Bob and Ira Spring Photographs
I was just revisiting this post and noticed that the link I provided for the "preliminary finding aid" is kaput. It was superceded long ago by this:

mountaineers.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/A...ring+B+W+Photographs

This is still an unofficial inventory (made by me while working on the collection). I imagine UW has probably created their own finding aid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: MtnPavlas

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