That's it for the night

Had to run into town today and this evening, we went to a lecture by Galen Biery's granddaughter at a local Elementary School.

Galen Biery?

Galen Alvord Biery (1910-1994) was one of Bellingham's most well-known local 'armchair' historians. During the summer of 1930, Biery was introduced to Beverley B. Dobbs, who had become famous for filming some of the first motion picture travelogues of the Alaskan Gold Rush. In Fairhaven Biery began working for Dobbs as he photographed the fish processing operations at Pacific American Fisheries during the 1930s. Biery later travelled with him to Seattle to learn more about motion pictures and photographic techniques.
Galen Biery set up a newsreel laboratory in Bellingham in 1932 and captured the Nooksack River floods on film which was aired nationally. In 1935 Biery's inventiveness, with the help of Bob and Joe Dunn, led to a patent for a post-card printing machine. Later, Biery and Erwin Hube invented a revolutionary salmon skinning and boning machine used in a Pacific American Fisheries cannery in Alaska. Throughout his career, Biery worked as a machinist, mechanic, researcher and cannery foreman at Pacific American Fisheries.

After his retirement in 1976, Biery was able to concentrate on his passions of history, photography, film and gardening. He shared both his knowledge of local history and the thousands of photographs he had taken through his famous "Magic Lantern" slide shows. The "Magic Lantern" slide shows began in 1958 for the Fairhaven Lions' Club and expanded to include historical societies, museums, community clubs and local elementary schools. The shows presented Biery's recollections and research on local history, including Lake Whatcom, Pacific American Fisheries, local theaters and the Mount Baker country.

Biery collaborated on many books, including Looking Back, with Dorothy Koert, wrote several newspaper columns titled, "Bellingham - A Look Back," in the Bellingham Buyer, and had photos published in the Bellingham Herald. His historic photos grace almost every newspaper in the region, as well as several books. In 1984, Biery was named "Whatcom County's Living Treasure" by the Bellingham Arts Commission, and proclaimed "Honor Citizen" by the City of Bellingham.

Although Galen Biery died on September 26, 1994, his heritage is deeply ingrained in the residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County, Washington. His "Magic Lantern" slide shows have been carried on by several friends and most recently by his grandchildren. The Galen Biery Papers reflect his commitment to the history of Bellingham.

The Magic Lantern show was just that -- his granddaughter, Laura Jacoby, brought a couple hundred of the lantern slides out of the 30,000 or so that she has and gave a wonderful talk on the history of the Mt. Baker area, our little community and Bellingham at large. These were the original 3.5X4 glass slides shown on a 1930's projector. Mostly black and white, some hand tinted and all in fantastic shape. An amazing historical resource.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 12, 2009 10:30 PM.

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