“Industry at its best,” Edwin H. Land believed, “is the intersection of science and art.”1

A scientist and inventor, entrepreneur and CEO, aesthete and humanist, Land fostered invention and creativity within the culture of a small, science-based research and manufacturing company. He argued that the industrial process should be "dedicated to the discernment of deep human needs."2 His philosophical insights into those needs coupled with an eye for beauty and artistic expression guided the groundbreaking research ambitions of Polaroid—an iconic, 20th-century startup company whose pioneering achievements in optics and engineering continue to have profound technological, social, and artistic significance. At the Intersection of Science and Art draws from the wealth of material in the Polaroid corporate archives at Baker Library, bringing into focus the formative years and trajectory of the Polaroid Corporation and the career of Edwin Land, whose life, biographer Victor K. McElheny observes, "is a meditation on the nature of innovation."3

  • 1.Edwin H. Land, "The Second Great Product of Industry: The Rewarding Working Life," in Science and Human Progress; addresses at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mellon Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 22 to 26, 1963, Pittsburgh: Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, 1964. Reprint copy in Edwin H. Land speech files, Polaroid Corporation Records, Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
  • 2. Edwin H. Land, "Chairman's Letter," Polaroid Corporation Annual Report 1978, 5.
  • 3. Victor K. McElheny, Insisting on the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land (Reading, Massachusetts: Perseus Books, 1998), 1.