Elisha Kent Kane and the Seafaring Frontier

p. 55-56, on setting off on the first Grinnell expedition: I collected as I could some simple instruments for thermal and magnetic registration, which would have been of use if they had found their way on board. A very few books for the dark hours of winter, and a stock of coarse woolen clothing…constituted my entire outfit; and with these I made my report to Commodore Salter at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

p. 58-59, on the ship Advance: Two little wooden shelves housed a scanty library, and a third supported a reading lamp or a ‘Berzelius Argand’ to be lighted when the dampness made some heat necessary… while his ink-bottle was suspended ‘pendulum fashion, from a hook.’

p. 109: Nothing seemed worth living for but to have one’s name on the Arctic map, remarked Alfred Tennyson, Franklin’s nephew; he might have been speaking of Kane….

p. 111, re the second Grinnell expedition: In contrast to this Spartan provisioning, the expedition had ‘a large, well-chosen library, and a valuable set of instruments for scientific observations.’ Kane had experienced the terrible tedium of the long polar night when he lectured on ‘popular science, the atmosphere, the barometer, &c to the crew.’ He knew they were ‘not a very intellectual audience,’ but he remembers that they listened ‘with apparent interest and expressed themselves gratefully.’ Books provided sustenance for the mind and spirit. He also felt it imperative to collect data to further scientific studies of Arctic conditions.”