John Muir brought Alaska into public awareness through of his writings and speeches. In 1899 E. H. Harriman, a railroad magnate, was ordered by his doctors to take a rest. Enamored with Muir's works, Harriman organized an Alaskan expedition. He outfitted the steamship The Elder, with the latest equipment and accommodations available; and on May 31, 1989, the Elder departed Seattle. John Muir was among the 126 guests and family aboard. The Elder followed a route similar to today's ship cruises. In Prince William Sound, a propeller broke. While it was being repaired, Muir and others noticed an ice break. They lowered a kayak into the sound and began to paddle into new territory, entering a solitude of ice never before seen by white man, and College Fjord was "discovered."
Many on the Elder had attended Ivy League schools, so they named the glaciers after their alma maters; thus the name College Fjord. As you enter the fjord, female college glaciers are on the port (left), and male college glaciers are on the starboard (right). Barry Arm (to the port as you sail into the fjord) has several glaciers that Harriman named as well; these are not named for universities.
From College Fjord, the expedition sailed on through the Aleutians, into the Bering Sea and on to Russia. Despite the thousands of miles traveled and all they accomplished, the "discovery" of College Fjord is considered the most significant aspect of the journey. This privately funded expedition is considered the 20th Century bar for glaciology, geology, photography, marine biology, and ornothology.