Pilgrims on the Ice: Robert Falcon Scott’s First Antarctic Expedition.

p. 27: for the Discovery expedition, the Executive Committee of the RGS commissioned an Antarctic Manual, “an idea that hearkened back to the British Arctic expedition of 1875. Edited by George Murray, it dealt with fields of science to be investigated, and was well received.”

p. 64: on Discovery: A small hospital was included but rarely used during the voyage. Class distinctions did not limit access to the library, and both officers and men took advantage of the fine selection of books aboard. The thousand volumes were stored in the wardroom, officer’s cabins, and the forecastle, as no separate room for the library had been included in the ship’s plans. Many volumes were donated by publishers and included treatises on polar exploration as well as a fine selection of literature. One visitor’s eye noted a prominent place for Jules Verne’s ‘An Antarctic Mystery.’ In this period before the First World War, one common bond that bridged the gap between the classes was poetry. The two classes, officers and men, still read the same poets and authors. The education level of the mess deck occupants was not equal to that of the wardroom residents, but some of the bluejackets showed not only considerable breadth of literary taste but also some real promise as writers, as the ship’s magazine would prove. [Baughman gives sources on this in footnote 17.]

p. 66: Shackleton often visited Wilson in his cabin, and the two spent many hours together reading poetry, especially Robert Browning…and Algernon Charles Swinburne…. [Ann Savours, Wilson Diary, p. 9 Sepr 1901.]

p. 71, re landing on South Trinidad Island, 13 sept. 1901: The island had been visited only once before by scientists, an account of one such visit by E. F. Knight was in the ship’s library and was read by several men in the days before their arrival at the island.

p. 127-8—first day without sun (Apr 23) saw presentation at a luxurious dinner of the first issue of The South Polar Times. Good description of its contents.

p. 129: Reading was a regular pastime, with books like Fights for the Flag and Deeds that Won the Empire being typical popular titles. Writing, either for the South Polar Times or journal writing, also occupied much time. [See Bernacchi’s Saga p. 47.]

p. 132: After dinner often the first move was to the reference works to check data related to discussions that had just occurred. The lack of an Encyclopaedia Britannica had already been noted but was repeatedly brought to mind in these postdinner searches for answers. How the ship could have sailed without the Britannica cannot be explained!

p. 133, for nightly rituals: Others used the time to read or catch up on their journal writing, fortifying themselves with toasted cheese sandwiches or other delicacies.

p. 135: Spiritualism was another issue discussed. To prepare for the event, Wilson had spent the day before reading on the subject. Again, all contributed to the debate, but none was listened to with more interest than Royds, who was a superstitious sort and related his tale of a fortune teller in Edinburgh who divined that Royds would be going to the Antarctic. [Wilson 2 June 1902]

p. 145: Scott made use of the ship’s library to learn about the experiences of other polar explorers, though he was distressed to find that no copy of Nansen’s Farthest North was aboard. Luckily, Wilson had taken some notes on Nansen’s book, and these were put to use by the captain. [See Scott’s diary 18 JULY 1902, and the Voyage vol. 1, p. 226.]

p. 147-48: Still, despite what seemed like the heaviest load of work around the ship, Skelton found time to read, occasionally commenting on the books in his diary. Reading polar literature allowed Skelton to argue more effectively on certain subjects. Once he believed he bested Armitage on a point regarding skiing by quoting Nansen’s The First Crossing of Greenland. [Skelton, Diary, 1 May and 29 June 1902, SPRI MS 342/1/4]

p. 154, William Lashly: made a convenient little bracket for Skelton’s cabin that was used for capturing the heat from the lamp to boil water and for holding a candle while reading in bed. [Skelton, Diary, 16 Aug 1902, SPRI Ms 342/1/4/]

p. 179, during a November storm: The men spent the rest of the day confined to their tent, where Wilson read aloud from The Origin of Species, the book chosen as reading material for the southern journey. [Scott Diary, 5 Nov 1902, SPRI 1464/3, and Savour’s Wilson Diary, same date. Same reading aloud of Darwin on p. 182 and 193.]

p. 182: … again during bad weather the men returned to reading The Origin of Species aloud.]

p. 217, on Scott’s disappointment at scientific accomplishments in either oceanography or physical properties of ice: Time and library resources for background material were cited as the principal reasons for the failure of the expedition regarding ice issues. [cites Scott to Mill, 16 February 1903, SPRI 100/100/3.]

p. 219-20, passage on various amusements: Both officers and men spent more time reading in the dark months. [Other diversions the second winter were lectures and papers, lantern shows, educational endeavors, field hockey when there was light, games including bridge and chess, and practical jokes.]

p. 228, while breaking camp a wind blew things away: among the things apparently lost at this time was Scott’s copy of Hints for Travellers. Because this volume contained the tables to assist in finding latitude and longitude, the loss was crucial. Scott was determined to continue and eventually worked out his own system for determining his position, one that, when checked later, proved to be remarkably accurate.

During a later storm of six days the men were confined to their tents in what they called Desolation Camp: Scott thought it one of the most miserable weeks of his life. Fortunately, the party had a book with them, Darwin’s Voyage of the ‘Beagle,’ to pass away the time. The men took turns reading aloud until ‘their freezing fingers refused to turn the page.’ [see VOD II p. 183-84.]

p. 260, on return voyage: Pushing ever northward Scott arranged for the distribution of such things as the library, some of the china and silverware, and other trinkets from the ship.” [see Skelton Diary, 29 August 1904, SPRI MS 342/1/7]