Gould was second in command of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition of 1928-30 and according to this account had responsibility for forming the Little America library.
p. 48-50: There were just three recognized winter pastimes in which all the camp could join: radio broadcasts, Sunday night movies, and our local talent shows. It is almost needless to say that our weekly broadcasts were on of the most important sources of interest and recreation. They set Saturday off from the rest of the week, and for this reason alone served to break up the too close continuity of our days….
Our moving pictures were reserved for Sunday nights. Whoever selected these pictures for us must have realized that men who are segregated as we were for the polar night, are bound to be sexually deprived. It appear that They had been almost too obviously selected to avoid themes that could by any flight of fancy lead one’s mind into such channels. We were amused—very greatly—by this fact. But we had a few very good productions such as Chang, Grass, Nanook of the North, and some of Charlie Chaplin’s earliest comedies.
p. 57: Bernt Balchen and Sverre Strom have appropriated Blubberheim for a sledge factory…. They take so much of the limited space in this tiny house [at Little America] that Arthur Walden is crowded into his bunk where he sits reading “Kim.” In a cramped corner is Chris Braathen building a miniature replica of the “City of New York.”
p. 58: Most of us have provided ourselves with candles or some sort of individual light, and we look forward to the luxury of an hour or two of reading in bed before it gets too cold that we have to stop. The doors are opened at 11 o’clock and the frosty air seems to leap in. To read any longer I have to put on a hat and don some thin gloves but to-night I am reading again James Stephens’ “Crock of Gold” and I can’t stop now.
p. 64: I believe the most important single source of recreation that made the time pass easily was our library—the Layman Library—of some 3000 volumes. When we were looking forward toward the winter night all of us anticipated great times with the books, but few of us, I think, had such ambitious projects as did one man who came to me one day early in the winter and said:
“Larry, do you know what I am going to do during this winter night?” Of course I hadn’t the slightest idea.
“Well,” he said, “I am going to learn aerial surveying and navigation and read the Encyclopedia Britannica through.”
It seemed a fairly ambitious program to me, but I didn’t want to discourage the man so I assured him that if he carried out the project he would certainly achieve the essential of a liberal education. His literary aspirations were rather short lived. He did start with volume I, letter A of the encyclopedia and got as far as “ammonium tetrachloride”—I saw him throw the book down with a look of disgust and asked him what was the matter.
“The stuff in that d—book is no good for an aviator,” he replied.
Commander Byrd had charged me with the responsibility of collecting the library as part of our preparations back in New York. I asked him what sorts of books he especially liked to read. His reply indicated considerable catholicity of taste. “Dickens, detective stories, and philosophy.”
p.65: And of all the various classes of reading matter that were represented detective stories were the most widely read, with accounts of other polar expeditions making a close second. The most widely read single book of all was W.H. Hudson’s “Green Mansions.” Donn Byrne and Joseph Lincoln were more exhaustively read than any other two authors. Mark Twain came next. We had a complete set of Kipling’s works which was scarcely touched. As for myself, had the winter night given me opportunity for no other reading than Romain Rolland’s “Jean Christophe” and Galsworthy’s “Forsyte Saga” in its entirety I should still have considered it well spent. To me these are two works of this day that will live if any do. “Jean Christophe” is the most satisfying work of art with which I have ever come face to face.
p. 74: Since we expected to cover a route that had in part been pioneered by Amundsen and might therefore in large measure meet the same obstacles that he faced, his book “The South Pole” was our most valuable source of information.
p. 102: As I think back upon it all now, the one thing that stands out most vividly, is the realization that a man’s ability to stand the strain of such intimate living with his fellow men is generally fairly well proportionate to his inner resources. It was the men of mental resources, men with backgrounds of culture and education, who best kept their poise. Even so I think a good deal of humbug exists in the minds of people who have never spent a night in the polar regions about the “terrible monotony” of the long continued darkness. I think such monotony as existed among us was derived from the fact that we got tired of each other; I never heard anyone in any way link any feeling of depression he might have had with the darkness. And after all why should any man of even reasonable education, with all his bodily comforts adequately cared for, find himself growing stale or glum when he has at his disposal a fairly comprehensive library of some 3000 volumes, to say nothing of the other factors that contributed to keep us all healthy and sane?
Chapter IX The Amundsen cairn (p. 215-34) describes Gould’s sledge team finding the cairn made by Amundsen on his return from SP in 1912. Here he found the two rocks which ended up in Bassett Jones collection, as well as the safety matches (p. 221).
The Amundsen cairn.
The geological party had traversed much of the same ground followed by Roald Amundsen in his historic trek to the Pole in 1911-12, and on Christmas Day they were elated to locate on Mt. Betty, near the Axel Heiberg glacier, a cairn that had been left by Amundsen. As Gould described it, “We couldn’t help standing at attention, with hats off, in admiring respect for the memory of this remarkable man before we touched a rock of the cairn. It was one of the most exciting moments of the summer when I pried the lid off the tin can in the cairn and took out a bit of paper which had formerly been a page in Amundsen’s notebook, and on which he had briefly recorded the discovery of the South Pole.”]
p. 239-40, on the return sledge journey to Little America: There were no rocks to examine, no mountains to climb, nothing that I could do in the way of physical labor when we were not travelling, and a ski journey of 23 miles was scarcely a days work any more. These days came nearer to being monotonous than had any other part of the summer. Time did hang heavily on our hands. To me the continuous daylight was a large contributory factor to this near monotony…. I used to long for the soothing velvety feel of the darkness on my eyes.I really believe that this unending light was far more tiresome to me than had been the long dark There is much more variety in a polar night than there is in a polar day, and besides, one can create light when he tires of darkness. But there was no way for us to induce even semi-darkness….