Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Bradford Washburn, 1910-2007


Mountaineer and aerial photographer Bradford Washburn died of heart failure Jan. 11 in Lexington, Mass.

Washburn was born in 1910 in Cambridge, Mass. In 1933, he graduated from Harvard University and served as an instructor at Harvard's Institute of Geographical Exploration from 1935 until 1942.

Throughout his 60-year career, he traveled extensively, and his aerial images of peaks and glaciers were acclaimed.

His interest in mountain topography began in his youth, when he climbed and mapped the mountain ranges of New England. The following decade saw his first visit to Alaska, where he climbed and mapped many of that state's peaks, including Mount McKinley and the Muldrow Glacier. He also photographed the Grand Canyon, the Alps and Mount Everest.

His adventures are documented in several books, including photography collections, autobiographies and guidebooks.

Washburn also enjoyed a successful career as the director of the Boston Museum of Science, which he ran from 1939 to 1980. His work garnered him nine honorary doctorates, the Centennial Award of the National Geographic Society (shared with his wife, Barbara, the first woman to reach the summit of Mount McKinley) and the King Albert Medal of Merit.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Edward, and two daughters, Dorothy Dundas and Elizabeth Cabot.