Journal of Transactions and Events, during a Residence of Nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador; Containing Many Interesting Particulars, Both of the Country and Its Inhabitants, Not Hitherto Known

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Townsend took six voyages to Labrador over sixteen years and this is his personal account of his experiences. Throughout the journal are many references to reading prayers to his family, sometimes twice a day.

Skating to Antarctica: A Journey to the End of the World

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This largely autobiographical work using the hook of a voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the tourist ship, Academik Vavilov, to explore the pained relation of the author to her parents, and her own daughter’s efforts to explore those relationships. The somewhat mean-spirited passages on the sea voyage to South Georgia and the Peninsula are outweighed by the psychological exploration of troubled parental relations. In essence there is little about Antarctica beyond descriptions of tourists and penguins, nothing about reading, and a bit about boredom.

Antarctic Days: Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by two of Shackleton’s Men.

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By two men of Shackleton’s Nimrod colleagues, and a preface by Shackleton himself. Murray was a biologist who served as chief of the base camp of the 1907-09 Nimrod expedition. George Marston was the official artist for both the Nimrod and the Endurance expeditions and drew illustrations of both. In his introduction Murray says that he did most of the writing and Marston “does the best of the illustrations.” Both were involved in the production of Aurora Australis.

The Hazen Court-Martial: The Responsibility for the Disaster of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition Definitely Established with Proposed Reforms in the Law and Practice of Courts-Martial.

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Mackey held Secretary of War Robert T. Lincoln responsible for the tragedy by withholding necessary support because of his animosity to Hazen, Chief Signal Officer. Secondly he blamed Garlington for not following the plan as ordered, a plan on which Greeley depended for survival. (p. 7). On p. 6 Mackey refers to the North Pole as “the crown jewel of the Arctic dome.”

Ethnological Results of the Point Barrow Expedition.

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p. xvii, re IPY cruise on Golden Fleece to Point Barrow, Aug 8, 1881, Murdoch to Richard Rathbun at Smithsonian: The hold and the deck are filled with our stuff, while we are so crowded in the cabin that we are only able to keep out the simple necessary articles and a few books. … I had hoped to have things so that I might do some work on the voyage up, but the vessel is so small and we have so much material that it is entirely out of the question…. They feed us well and by reading, writing, eating and sleeping we manage to fill up the time.

Biographical Notes.Feb. 6-1877 to Jan. 24, 1960.

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Bassett Jones was a consulting engineer who graduated from MIT in 1898, who formed a consulting partnership specializing in elevator and lighting design and installation. He was also a major collector of materials dealing with the polar regions and he and Vilhjalmur Stefansson prepared a major exhibition of their collections at the Grolier Club in 1931-32. He joined the Explorers Club in 1926 when it was on 47 W 76th St. At the time of the exhibition he was living at 1088 Park Avenue and was acting President of the Explorers Club. Not all of his Explorers Club activities were entirely congenial: in April 1933 the NYTimes reported that he was being sued for $50,000 by a former librarian of the Club for asserting that the librarian had sold copies of the Club publication, As Told at the Explorers Club (New York, 1931),for his personal profit. The Times makes no further reference to this slander suit.

Around the World with the Battleships

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Not much here on reading by the sailors of the Great White Fleet but it does add some purple propaganda to the overall picture.

Tragedy and Triumph: the Journals of Captain R. F. Scott’s Last Polar Expedition.

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These journals include rather little on reading. The expedition’s lecture series implies a good library available to the lecturers, all 13 of them. Subjects included mostly scientific matter: parasitology, scurvy, polar clothing, sledging diets, motor sledges, geology, volcanoes, surveying, Lololand, biology, horse management, Burma, China, India, Japan; Scott himself lectured on the icebarrier and inland ice, and on plays for the Southern Journey. Other topics were coronas, hales, rainbows and auroras, general meteorology, the Beardmore glacier, physiography, flying birds, penguins, ice problems, radium, and the constitution of matter. [see index p. 511-12]

A Relic of Ross.

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Identifies a book which James Clark Ross had with him on both his Arctic and Antarctic voyages and which he inscribed twice to so indicate. The book is The Economy of Human Life, 1808, variously attributed to Lord Chesterfield, Robert Dodsley (Johnson’s publisher), John Hill, or even unascribed as a volume from the library of the Grand Lama of Tartary. It is a small book of homilies on the conduct of life, often published; this copy first belonged to Isabella Ross, sister of James Clark Ross. He had it with him as first lieutenant to Captain Edward Parry in H.M.S. Hecla in the high Arctic when he inscribed it: “Written on board the Endeavour [a sledge boat detailed from the Hecla] in Latitude 82 3/4˚ N. 27th July, 1827. Jas. C. Ross.” (p. 355)

Review of J. M. Barrie’s Half-Hours,London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914, and The Voyages of Captain Scott, by Charles Turley, London: Smith Elder, 1914.

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Anonymous review of an early piece of Scott hagiography: The other book is a memorial of one of the most gallant Englishmen who ever went forth on a high adventure and snatched lasting victory out of failure and death…. Mr. Turley has retold, in Captain Scott’s own words as far as possible, the two great stories, putting them into so convenient a form that no boy or man can be repelled by the presence of detail, scientific or otherwise, inessential to the greatness of the tale.

And the Whale is Ours: Creative Writing of American Whalemen.

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A book of extensive excerpts of whalemen’s own escape literature, their own personal journals, often sentimental claptrap about home, love, and death, but best when devoted to their trade of whaling which they tended to depict accurately and realistically.

South Polar Times.

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Vol. III. P. 37:

Realms and Islands: The World Voyage of Rose de Freycinet in the Corvette Uranie. From Her Journal and Letters….

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Rose de Freycinet was smuggled aboard her husband, Captain Louis de Freycinet's corvette 'Uranie', about to sail on a scientific expedition round the world. She played a gallant and gracious part in the adventure which took her to many islands and countries. Her presence aboard, officially forbidden at the outset, had been condoned by the authorities long before she returned, and she was welcomed home as the heroine she had proved herself to be. [Summary from Aquila Books, ABEBooks, 3/1/17.]

Relics of the Franklin Expedition: Discovering Artifacts from the Doomed Arctic Voyage of 1845.

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p. 98-99, relics found at Terror Bay, in boxes found near the sunken ship, with Gilder’s account most focused on the books: Tuktoocheeah said a box containing the bones was outside [the boat] but that a tin box of full of books was in the boat (Stackpole 1965: 74, 75). Gilder recorded that Ogzeuckjeuwock “saw books in the boat place” and confirmed that they were “in the boat,” as was the box of bones (Gilder 2006: 72)…. All of the writers recorded that there were three separate boxes: the first, a metal (tin) box held a number of books; the second, of similar size, contained bones; and the third box, of tin with a red cover held tobacco (Stackpole 1965: 75; Barr 1987: 73; Gilder 2006:73). The box holding the books was variously measured as “about one and half feet wide, one foot deep and nearly two feet long,” (Stackpole 1965:75), “one foot wide and two foot long” (Barr 1987: 73) and “two feet long and a foot square” (Gilder 2006: 72), and was the same size as the box holding the bones, which Schwatka incidentally recorded as two feet long. The different lengths were derived by hand signs from the Inuit (Stackpole 1965: 75). [Has anyone noted that these sizes sound suspiciously similar to the size of ASFS loan libraries. The tin doesn’t sound right however, but these would have been British products.]