Neal G. Smith (1937- 2012) was an ornithologist and tropical biologist who spent most of his career as a staff member of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama studying the evolutionary biology of birds and insects. Though the majority of his career was spent in a tropical climate, he conducted field work in Nunavut, Canada, from 1959-1960.
Smith was in his early twenties and attending Cornell University at the time. The field work was conducted between April and August of each year. Smith recorded his scientific observations, personal thoughts, and interactions in field notes, journals, and images, found in Smithsonian Institution Archives Accession 17-057, which was accessioned in 2016. The field notes and journals are full of personal details and observations recorded during his first years in the field. Some entries, like the one below, contain vivid details about living conditions in the field.
The following quote comes from Smithsonian Institution Archives Accession 17-057, box 1, folder 2.
Monday, May 9 - Still pencil. Well, I've got time and temperature to write. Just sharpened the pencil with a now know. We are parked smack in the middle of Southampton Island, in a bloody wind storm. It is now 7:45pm. First things first -- the ink is still frozen solid, in fact everything that I own is frozen solid -- camera etc. God it's cold -- last night it went down to -25 degrees F -- plus wind and that’s authentic. It must be 15 degrees colder in the interior of this lovely tropical isle.
Curious to learn more? Field note records for this collection will be available on Smithsonian Collections Search Center in January 2017. Also check out Neal Griffith Smith's oral history interview in Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 009584.