Ernest Oberholtzer (1884-1977) was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa but he lived most of his adult life in Minnesota. Oberholtzer attended Harvard University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, but left after one year of graduate study in landscape architecture. He made his first trip to the Minnesota-Ontario border lakes in 1906.
Known primarily as an environmentalist and one of the eight founders of the Wilderness Society, Oberholtzer canoed and photographed thousands of miles of the Canadian and American Rainy Lake Watershed and became close to the many Ojibwa people who lived in that area. Over 50 years of wilderness photography, taken with his Grafix camera with negatives developed in his canoe, are on display in the exhibition.