Frank Richard Oastler (1871-1936) was an American surgeon specialising in gynaecology by profession but also a keen amateur photographer, scholar, and authority on wildlife conservation and its interpretation to the public. According to the Beinecke Library site: "Dr. Oastler spent his summers exploring the mountains of the United States and Canadian West, traveling by pack train, photographing the landscapes, fauna, and flora he encountered. He brought home both still and motion pictures which he used in lectures to teach others about natural history and conservation. He was sought after as an authority on the American wilderness, is credited with being chiefly responsible for saving the trumpeter swan from extinction, and instituted the National Park Service's public education program. He advocated nature walks, museums, and nature lectures. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Park Service and was a leader in the movement to create the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan."
The Frank Richard Oastler Collection, housed at Yale University, consists of his photographs, negatives, slides, and 204 black and white 16mm motion picture films documenting the Oastlers' Western trips and visits to other national parks, accompanied by various descriptive notes. The films were badly deteriorated but the Beinecke Library pursued extensive conservation of four of the films which have been digitized and made available through this site. The films record undated trips to Glacier National Park and to Yellowstone National Park, a trip down the Colorado River in 1925, and a trip to Alaska in 1927.
March 13, 2014