. Arctic Manual

p. xi: Describes use of Stefansson’s library of over 15,000 books, pamphlets, and manuscripts in preparing his report on living and operating conditions in the Arctic, and also the preparation of this Manual ( 1935-43).

p. 497, Preservation of Records: How to preserve a record for years or centuries is everywhere a problem, but not quite so much in the Arctic as elsewhere. For instance, Stefansson found in an open cylinder that had been filled with wet sand for more than a half a century, thawing every summer and freezing every winter, the record of McClure’s discovery of the Northwest Passage. It was written on ordinary paper and still legible except in a few spots that had ‘rotted’ away.

In old records that have been recovered in the North, the preservation of pencil writing has usually been better than that of ink. In some records, where both were used, nearly all of the pencilling was legible, nearly all the pen writing undecipherable.

The early explorers usually put records into whatever they happened to have with them, though some carried special contrivances. Since rust is slow in the Arctic, an ordinary water-tight tin can, such as those which hold casein or malted milk, is likely to keep a record safe for a quarter or half century. Within their natural limits bottles are excellent, or glass jars with screw tops. A brass shotgun shell, corked, would be good (except that this Manual counsels against shotguns being carried at all on long and difficult journeys).