Biography of 'HUTCHISON, Isobel Wylie '

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Film-maker, author and poet

Born in 1880, at the dawn of moving pictures, Hutchison became a respected film-maker. The daughter of Thomas Hutchison and Jeanie Wylie, she lived a quiet, sheltered life until her mid-thirties when her life as a traveller, film-maker, poet and novelist began.

She travelled to the Arctic, filming the things she saw around her, the landscape and the wildflowers growing there and the daily lives of the indigenous people. Other travellers of the time who wrote of their discoveries did not dwell on the domestic detail that makes Hutchison’s work unique. Her first exploration was to East Greenland in 1927, followed in 1928 by a year in Umanak, North Greenland. She filmed eskimos collecting ice for water and hunting seals from a kayak, the wild flowers of Umanak and the Governor’s coffee party! Scottish whalers had taught reels and other dances to the locals, Hutchison filmed them a century later still dancing with enthusiasm.

In 1934 she set out for Alaska, travelling by coastal steamer from Vancouver to Skagway and then overland to Nome. Here she found a very small freighter to take her along the north coast of Alaska, ending with 120 miles by dog sledge and returning on mail plane to Alberta. Hutchison brought back samples of the plant life for the Royal Horticultural Society and the Natural History Museum. She had a long connection with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society as Honorary Editor of the magazine and as a fellow and Vice President.

She was awarded the Mungo Park Medal as a tribute to her explorations and in recognition of her original and valuable researches in Iceland, Greenland and Arctic Alaska. She wrote several travel books including ‘North to the Rime-Ringed Sun’ and ‘Stepping Stones from Alaska to Asia’ and four volumes of poetry.

In later life she gave frequent lectures, using films and lantern slides, describing her travels for film-making and writing articles for National Geographic‘ magazine. She died in 1982. She held the distinctions LLD and FRSGS.

Researcher: Anne Wade

Films associated with 'COCOZZA, Enrico'

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'CRUISE OF U.S.S. "CHELAN"' thumbnail

CRUISE OF U.S.S. "CHELAN" [3013]

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On board the US naval vessel "Chelan" as it stops at Attu Island, Alaska and the crew carries out lifeboat drill. Isabel Hutchison has her photograph taken with the crew.

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1939

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'EXCAVATIONS BY DR. HRDLICKA.  DUTCH HARBOUR.' thumbnail

EXCAVATIONS BY DR. HRDLICKA. DUTCH HARBOUR. [3015]

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Dr. Ales Hrdlicka at work on excavations at the old village site, Dutch Harbour in the Aleutian Islands.

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1935

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'FLOWERS AND COFFEE PARTY AT UMANAK' thumbnail

FLOWERS AND COFFEE PARTY AT UMANAK [3011]

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Wild flowers at Umanak, Greenland and the Governor of Greenland gives a coffee party.

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1935

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'FUR, SEALS AND FLOWERS IN PRIBILOF ISLANDS' thumbnail

FUR, SEALS AND FLOWERS IN PRIBILOF ISLANDS [3014]

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A woman botanist collects wild flowers and local women make baskets on the island of Unalaska.

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1935

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'GREAT JAKOBSHAVN ICEBERG BANK, the' thumbnail

GREAT JAKOBSHAVN ICEBERG BANK, the [3010]

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Eskimoes in their kayaks hunting for seals and collecting ice for drinking water.

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1935

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'KAYAK ROLLING' thumbnail

KAYAK ROLLING [3012]

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Eskimoes in Greenland "rolling" their kayaks, Greenlanders in traditional costume dancing "reels" and Confirmation Sunday at Jakobshavn. [Dufay Color]

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1935

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'KODIAK ISLAND' thumbnail

KODIAK ISLAND [3009]

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The wild flowers and landscape of the Aleutian Islands taken from the vessel SS "Starr" on its voyage from Kodiak Island, Alaska. The lighthouse keeper's wife lands at Scotch Cap on Unimak Island.

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1935

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'STROLL TO VENICE THROUGH THE DOLOMITES, a' thumbnail

STROLL TO VENICE THROUGH THE DOLOMITES, a [3016]

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The landscape, people, villages and flowers found on the route to Venice through the Dolomites.

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1955

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