Beebe and Bostelmann

synopsis

Beebe and Bostelmann

By Kent Politsch

In 1929, naturalist explorer William Beebe went looking for life where scientists claimed it did not exist, a half-mile deep in the ocean. By 1934, Beebe had found the life he theorized was there. And he found an artist with more passion than he bargained for, an artist who put his sightings on the cover of magazines and newspapers throughout the world.

But German born Else Bostelmann also brought intrusive observations to Bermuda for Dr. Beebe’s historic dives in his Bathysphere. She pushed the bounds of politeness while observing Beebe charm his young science assistants into bed, questioning his inability to turn down their physical desires despite his recent marriage to a beautiful and successful woman half his age.

Beebe and Bostelmann looks back on an amazing moment in human courage when William Beebe and the young man who designed the Bathysphere submerge far below depths scientists thought feasible. They see – and through Bostelmann’s pens and brushes – record the strange aquatic life the science community said could never survive under the enormous weight of water pressure.

What pushed Beebe to risk his life by dropping a half-mile deep in a tethered iron ball from a rickety barge? Why did he hire a 29-year-old female science assistant despite warnings from male intellects against such a move? Else Bostelmann inquires and boldly theorizes while she and Beebe collaborate on the artwork that helped him expand his fame.

With its roots embedded in exploration, Beebe and Bostelmann probes more than life beneath the sea. It examines the impact of lost love and how it affects the human spirit.