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The Bentley Collection

The Schwerdtfeger Library is pleased to release its online version of Wilson Alwyn Bentley's snow crystal photomicrographs.

Bentley (1865-1931), famous for his photomicrographs of snow crystals, prepared sets of glass lantern slides of dew, frost and ice crystals. Many of these sets found their way to colleges and universities in the United States. The University of Wisconsin's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences donated their collection to the Schwerdtfeger Library in 2000. Shortly after, the Library obtained partial funding through the Friends of the Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Madison, to preserve the physical collection and provide web access.

Each image in the collection was cleaned, analyzed, scanned to maximize detail and sharpness, checked for quality, compared to existing collections, and classified according to the Magono and Lee snow crystal classification scheme.  We created a searchable, browseable database and have made it available via an easy-to-navigate web interface.  All jpegs are available on-line, tiffs are saved off-line. We've adhered to established guidelines for scanning, structure and metadata capture. The physical collection, now stored archivally, is always available for use in the Library.

Bentley wanted his images to be used, thus, he did not copyright them. We hope the collection will be used for teaching and learning at various levels. Enjoy!  And forward any comments to Jean Phillips.

Updated 6/19/02