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Harriman Expedition Retraced



The 1899 Expedition
The 1899


Original Participants

Brief Chronology

Science Aboard the Elder
Aboard the

History of Exploration
Exploration &

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

Alaska Native Communities


Frederick V. Coville


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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