Sweet Vindication and Woods Hole

I understand that in all likelihood I’m the only person who remembers this, yet I’m still going to exult in it.

I wrote a post some time ago that began with this image:

Biology faculty at Woods Hole summer 1917 Davies glass neg

Here’s what I had to say about it before I veered off in a completely different direction:

It’s a very old picture–printed from a glass plate negative–of Rice biologists Julian Huxley, Hermann Muller and Edgar Altenburg. It’s labeled on the back, “Biology faculty, Woods Hole, Summer 1917.” It’s a great picture but I was immediately skeptical about the date. 1917 is surely too late for these three to be there, as Huxley would have already returned to England. So I began trying to figure out when this could have been taken. I think it must have been the summer of 1916.

So we’ve had a young woman from Oxford in the Woodson this week and she’s working with the Julian Huxley collection, which means that I’ve also been poking around in those boxes. Just now I came across an envelope labeled—(wait for it)—“Woods Hole, Summer 1916.” Yes, Melissa. You were so right!

There were about two dozen photos of the town and the facilities and here are a couple, just for your enjoyment:

Woods Hole 2Woods Hole summer 1916 JSH

Huxley deemed only two images in this stack important enough to label more specifically. The first is this one, which he identifies as the famous Albatross, the ship that carried biologist Louis Aggasiz on several important research expeditions:

Woods Hole Albatross Agassiz

The second, which I find deeply endearing, is this–“Mrs. Snow’s Shop”–where I suppose Julian Huxley bought his dry goods while in town:

Woods Hole Mrs Snows shop

Bonus: Credit where credit is due. The Italian cypress trees on the quad look to be in really good shape these days, both green and upright.


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8 Responses to Sweet Vindication and Woods Hole

  1. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    Congratulations on your Sherlockian (?sp) insight.

    Can anyone give us a brief synopsis of how and when the “Albatross” — or similarly outfitted vessels — converted from boiler (I assume) power to wind power. (One may view the “Albatross” with more yardarms aloft on the hyperlink to the “Albatross’ in the Galapogos (?sp, again).

    • Melissa Kean says:

      That would not be me!

      • effegee says:

        According to Wikipedia, the second USS Albatross was laid down in March 1882 and commissioned that November. She received new boilers in “autumn 1887”. Apparently she was initially rigged as a brigantine but was re-rigged as a schooner in “fiscal 1913”. Albatross was decommissioned at Woods Hole in 1921.

        The article does not mention her presence at Woods Hole in 1916. In fact, she is recorded as operating in Pacific waters most of 1916 until she was laid up from October 1916 to April 1917 due to lack of funds to operate her. She was taken over by the Navy in May and refitted for war for the duration of WWI, leaving San Francisco Bay in November.


  2. effegee says:

    Obviously the Italian cypresses have been reading this blog and have learned the posture of their Roman cousins!

  3. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    Effegee, thanks for your info. I read it all at your Wikipedia link.
    However, I really was wondering how those combined propulsion ships sailed:
    When did they use steam, when would they switch to sail?
    When did they use steam and sail at the same time?
    It is a part of sailing I have never read about.

  4. Wind was used as much as time and wind direction would permit, particularly on the open sea. With some vessels, sailing under favorable conditions was actually significantly faster. Also, the combined propulsion vessels wouldn’t have nearly enough fuel bunkerage space to do a long voyage on steam alone.

  5. Richard A. Schafer says:

    Farrell has also provided additional confirmation that those pictures are not from the summer of 1917, since the Albatross could not have been in Woods Hole at that time, according to the Wikipedia article.

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