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Wesley T. Hanson

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Biography

Wesley T. Hanson was born in 1913 in Smyrna, Georgia. After excelling at school (all the while milking the cows), Hanson proceeded to the University of Georgia, where he earned a B.S. and then an M.A. in Chemistry. After a summer internship with Kodak, he tallied westward to the University of California, Berkeley, and received his PhD in 1934 at the age of 21.

From Berkeley Hanson returned to Kodak, where he worked on improving the processes for producing and developing color film, which, at the time, was still in its infancy and was not a readily useable consumer product. Kodacolor film had been introduced by the company the mid-thirties; Hanson’s innovation, known as the color coupler masking system, vastly simplified and improved the product and was incorporated into Kodacolor film in 1945. In many regards, this opened up the age of color photography. Hanson also collaborated with others at the Kodak labs to improve the copying of color film, and this eventually allowed the Kodak process to be used for motion pictures.

After many years in the lab, Hanson rose to the post of vice president of the Eastman Kodak company.

Wesley T. Hanson died in 1987 in Rochester New York.

Larson Collection Interview

Tape 1

Tape 2