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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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The 1899 Expedition
The 1899
Expedition


 

Original Participants
Original
Participants

Brief Chronology
Brief
Chronology

Science Aboard the Elder
Science
Aboard the
Elder

History of Exploration
Exploration &
Settlement

Development Along Alaska's Coast
Growth Along Alaska's Coast

Alaska Native Communities
Alaska
Natives

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Frederick V. Coville

1867-1937


Frederick Coville

Frederick Coville, photographed in Alaska during the Harriman Expedition, 1899.
Frederick Coville studied botany at Cornell University. Graduating in 1887, he took a job with the Department of Agriculture in Washington. He also became a member of the Cosmos Club, a social club that attracted some of the brightest scientists in the city. Merriam was a member, and a friend of Coville's as well. This, and that fact that Coville had done extensive fieldwork in places such as Death Valley, secured him a berth on the Harriman Expedition.

At 32, he was one of the younger men on board. He took advantage of every opportunity to hike, camp, and explore Alaska's coast. He stayed for three days on Columbia Glacier with Palache and Gilbert. He also spent a good deal of time talking with the more seasoned scientists, particularly Fernow. As with many "progressive" nineteenth century scientists, he sided with those who would use, rather than preserve, wilderness, and noted that Alaska's "enormous growth of grass" was "going to waste every year."

After the trip, he returned to Washington, D.C. and to botany, and eventually directed the National Arboretum. He died in 1937.

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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