Happy President’s Day, America! Edwin Land’s Connection To The Holiday

In the United States, today we “celebrate” President’s Day. It is more a day for schools, banks, the Post Office, and some businesses (not many anymore) to have the day off. There are typically no parades, no festive activities. It is more or less an excuse to have a day off in between Christmas/New Year’s, and Memorial Day.

Edwin Land And The Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, 1972

Edwin Land And The Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, 1972

In 1963, Edwin Land received from President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award that can be given to an ordinary citizen. Of course, Dr. Land, who never finished college, was not an “ordinary citizen”. In fact, would anyone question today the fact that his doctorates were honorary in nature, and not official? I certainly would not. With 535 patents, second only to the great Thomas A. Edison, would anyone question supreme genius?

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom- Awarded To Dr. Edwin Land In 1963

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom- Awarded To Dr. Edwin Land In 1963

I have several books about Edwin Land, Polaroid, and instant photography. A bit technical in nature, but nonetheless a fascinating read, is Insisting On the Impossible : The Life of Edwin Land by Victor K. McElheny, who also wrote a book on James Watson, and his discovery of the Double Helix, the underpinnings of DNA. The book goes into great detail regarding the development of sepia, then black and white, and ultimately, color instant films. It also covers the initial phenomenon that took place during Thanksgiving, 1948, at Jordan Marsh in Boston, where the very first Polaroid Model 95’s, and Type 40 Orthochromatic instant films were introduced. If you are a Polaroid fan, this book is a must read-

Insisting On the Impossible : The Life of Edwin Land By Victor K. McElheny

Insisting On the Impossible : The Life of Edwin Land By Victor K. McElheny

The book is available on Amazon, at : http://www.amazon.com/Insisting-Impossible-Life-Edwin-Land/dp/0738201901

Happy President’s Day, Edwin Land, and Polaroid fans!

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