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Lot #9
Otto Berg's 1954 'Earth from Space' Photograph Enlargement Archive

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Estimate: $1200+
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Fantastic archive of photography and ephemera pertaining to Otto Berg's iconic photomosaic of Earth from space, including: two original vintage matte-finish 19.75 x 15.75 silver gelatin photographs of the image with landmarks captioned (one affixed to a same-size board); two circa 1970s color satin-finish 20 x 16 photos of the image (with "This Paper Manufactured by Kodak" watermarks on the reverse); an original vintage glossy 9.5 x 7.5 press photo of Berg building a three-dimensional composite of the image; an offprint of Berg's article, "High-Altitude Portrait of Storm Clouds," reprinted from the Office of Naval Research's Research Reviews (September 1955); and a laminated spread of Life Magazine's "A 100 Mile High Portrait of Earth" as published in September 1955, plus an unmounted copy.

Also includes two congratulatory letters to Berg: one from P. H. Horn of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, May 27, 1959, providing a reward from the Government Employees' Incentive Awards Committee, in part: "Your intelligent and skillful preparation of a composite photograph of the Earth has brought favorable attention to the Navy's research program. This photograph, prepared from motion picture film, taken at an altitude of 100 miles, shows two million square miles and a horizon length of almost thirty-five hundred miles of the earth's surface," going on to praise his innovative work in devising the project; and another from the Naval Research Laboratory, November 28, 1962, thanking him for a "beautiful reproduction of your high altitude mosaic photograph." Also includes a copy of a letter from NASA to the Smithsonian, transmitting an oversized enlargement of the famous image, "chosen in 1959 by Look Magazine as one of the ten best pictures of the year." In overall very good to fine condition, with some creasing to the photographs, and one of the black-and-white enlargements peeling from its mount. Additionally includes three water-damaged 20 x 16 color prints, and several modern prints of the Life Magazine spread.

From the collection of Dr. Otto Berg.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Science and Technology
  • Dates: #650 - Ended December 15, 2022