Houston, Charles S. Collection

Houston, Charles S. Collection
Credit: Charles S. Houston home movies, Charles S. Houston Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Admiring the summit while resting atop a peak on K-2, 1938.
[Charles S. Houston--home movies], 1515
[Charles S. Houston--home movies] First American Karakoram Expedition, 1648
K2 1953 Lecture Film, 1723
Exploring the Heights, 1911
film (31,725 ft.) : si. and sd., b&w and col. ; 16 mm.
1925 – 1985
K2, Pakistan
Nanda Devi, India
Honnedaga, NY
Mount Everest, Nepal
Exeter, NH
Credit: Excerpt from Charles S. Houston home movies, Charles S. Houston Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Exploring human physiology in a high altitude simulator, 1949.
The Charles S. Houston Collection consists of 74 reels of film shot between 1925 and the 1980s. The bulk of the films are from 1930 to 1963 and are records of Houston’s various mountain climbing expeditions. The main four expeditions documented in this collection are Nanda Devi in India (1936), K2 in Pakistan (1938), Mount Everest in Nepal (1950), and a tragic return to K2 (1953) that would be his final expedition. There is also a significant amount of footage documenting family activities from summer vacations at Honnedaga Lake in upstate New York to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations with friends and family. Seven reels in the collection concern Houston’s tenure as the first country director of India for the Peace Corps in 1963. Houston was also an avid traveler and the collection includes a considerable amount of footage from his family’s travels around the globe, primarily in South and Southeast Asia. The collection contains a few commercial films about Houston’s, and other, mountain climbing expeditions, a medical film about an artificial heart designed by Houston, and a film produced by the U.S. Navy to document Operation Everest, an experiment conducted by Houston to explore human physiology in a high altitude simulator.
The creator and donor Charles S. Houston was an avid mountain climber and doctor who became an authority on the effects of high altitudes on human physiology. Born in 1913 in Manhattan, New York, he attended Harvard University and was a member of the Harvard Mountaineering Club. Though he has climbed mountains from Mt. Crillon in Alaska to Mt. Everest itself, his most famous expeditions were on K-2 in Pakistan. The first was in 1938, when he was the leader of the first American expedition on the mountain. He returned to the mountain in 1953 as part of an expedition that has become legendary for both heroism and tragedy when fellow climber Art Gilkey developed blood clots and the team gave up their ascent in an unsuccessful attempt to save his life. Houston and his fellow team members from his many expeditions have written several books about their exploits. He earned his Ph.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1939 and quickly became a leading expert in the effects of high altitudes on human physiology. In 1946, Houston was the head of a famous study on the subject for the U.S. Navy entitled Operation Everest. In 1980, he authored the seminal text on the subject entitled "Going High," known as "Going Higher: Oxygen, Man and Mountains" in later editions. WorldCat From 1962 to 1965, Houston was recruited to become the first Peace Corps country director for India and was instrumental in creating a Doctor’s Peace Corps. He remained active in the fields of mountaineering and medicine until his death in 2009.
Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See http://www.oldfilm.org/research for more information.

60 Items in this collection