School of Information
  (Previously School of Library & Information Studies)

  Michael Buckland

  Lodewyk Bendikson, 1875-1953: Photography in Documentation

    Lodewyk Bendikson advanced photographic techniques for documentary reproduction and for the forensic analysis of damaged, forged, and redacted documents. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1875, Bendikson became a medical doctor (MD, University of Amsterdam, 1901) specializing in orthopedic surgery in the Netherlands and in New York.
    Surgeon John Shaw Billings, then Director of the New York Public Library, induced Bendikson to join the library staff in 1910 as a cataloger. In 1916, Bendikson became a bibliographer in the private library of Henry E. Huntington and moved with the library to San Marino, CA.
    Bendikson took up photography as a hobby and in 1920 became responsible for photographic services for the Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Gardens. He established a photographic laboratory, undertook research, and wrote, lectured, and consulted on photographic techniques for documentary reproduction. By skilful use of infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths Bendikson developed techniques for making charred documents legible, for reading text covered by ink blots, for revealing forgeries, and showing the original text of a document redacted by the Spanish Inquisition. He also developed opaque microprint on cards as a compact publication medium.
    Bendikson participated in documentation conferences, notably the 1935 FID Congress in Copenhagen and the 1937 World Congress for Universal Documentation in Paris. He was active in the American Library Association and the California Library Association and served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Documentary Reproduction. Bendikson lived in Pasadena, CA, retired in 1943, and died May 27, 1953.
Portrait.
Checklist of Bendikson's publications.
Lodewyk Bendikson and photographic techniques in documentation, 1910-1943. ASIST History preconference, Oct 27, 2012. Preprint. (pdf).
Go to History, or to Michael Buckland's Home Page.