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.
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?
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-
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!