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Land, Edwin H.



  • Existence: 1909 - 1991


Edwin Herbert Land was a scientist and inventor who co-founded the Polaroid Corporation and served as its chairman until the early 1980s. Born May 7, 1909 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Land briefly attended Harvard University, but left his studies to create a laboratory with his Harvard physics instructor George Wheelwright. Established in 1932, the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories was renamed the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. Land led Polaroid for more than four decades, growing the company from a small research and development firm to a world-renown high-tech corporation. Land’s intensive research led to the Polaroid Corporation’s most famous discoveries and products including polarizing filters, the instant camera, and the retinex theory of color perception. During World War II, Land and his team at Polaroid produced the Vectograph for the war effort, which used polarized stereoscopic filters in aerial photographs. In 1947, Land first demonstrated his most celebrated invention, the Polaroid Land instant camera. From the 1950s to 1980s, new iterations of instant cameras and instant film were the leading products of the Polaroid Corporation. Land wrote extensively about his research and discoveries and published articles in both popular and scientific publications. He served as the face of the Polaroid Corporation, promoting the company and its products in public presentations and demonstrations. Land stepped down as chairman of Polaroid in 1980 and left the company in 1982. After his death on March 1, 1991, the Polaroid Corporation hosted a memorial event and tribute to reflect on Land’s legacy and contributions to the company and its employees.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Papers of Elizabeth Weichel Moore, 1929-2007

Collection Identifier: SC 134; RA.CD-006; RA.DVD-4; RA.VT-126

Illustrated autobiography, etc., of Elizabeth Weichel Moore, Radcliffe Class of 1946.

Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1929-1976

Collection Identifier: MC 375

Correspondence, manuscripts, notebook, etc., of I. Rice (Irene Rice) Pereira, abstract painter, poet, and philosopher.

Polaroid Corporation records, series III: research and development records

Collection Identifier: Mss:658 1905-2005 P762 III

This series of the Polaroid Corporation records contains the research and development files, circa 1905 to 2000. Included are records of Polaroid scientists that document the development of products including goggles, polarizers, vectographs, three dimensional movies and the creation, development and perfection of instant black and white and color photography.

Polaroid Corporation records, series IX: corporate archives records

Collection Identifier: Mss:658 1905-2005 P762 IX

This series contains records kept by the Polaroid Corporation archivist and curator related to photography and art collections, photographs and the day to day operations of the Polaroid Corporate Archives.

Polaroid Corporation records, series V: records related to Edwin H. Land

Collection Identifier: Mss:658 1905-2005 P762 V

This series of the Polaroid Corporation records contains records related to Polaroid co-founder and chairman Edwin H. Land. Included in this series are articles and presentations by Land, published biographical works about Land, and photographs taken by Land and featuring Land as the subject.

Polaroid Corporation records, series VI: audiovisual collection

Collection Identifier: Mss:658 1905-2005 P762 VI

The Polaroid Corporation audiovisual collection contains over 5000 items of audio, video and film in a wide variety of formats.