General Greely; The Story of a Great American.

A shamelessly hagiographic account, the year after Greely’s death, by a fellow General.

p. 76: Greely had brought along a very good library, which proved to be a great source of interest and comfort during the dark months. Besides the scientific works, encyclopedias and books relating to the Arctic, there were over one thousand novels and magazines. Various games had also been brought, and a few musical instruments. Private Schneider, a young German , played the violin, his favorite selection being “Over the Garden Wall.”

p. 123, at Cape Sabine as their desperate conditions were growing: In order to occupy their minds and keep them from dwelling on their desperate condition, Greely began to give daily lectures of from one to two hours on the physical geography and resources of the United States, followed by similar talks on each state and territory. Israel talked on astronomy, and Dr. Pavy about France, natural history and physiology. In the evenings, some one usually read aloud from one of the six or seven books in their " library ": "Pickwick," "Coningsby," Hardy’s "Two on a Tower," Hayes’ "Polar Sea," "A History of Our Times," "The Life of St. Patrick," the Bible, and Army Regulations, a copy of which was left for them in the wreck.

p. 201-02: Greely assembled and developed the War Department Library , which had not amounted to much before his magic hand touched it. This saved the remarkable Brady Civil War photographs. A compilation of literature about the Civil War was also arranged and made available for the use of officers and educational institutions. It was about this time, too, that he started the first Free Public Library in Washington, by personally soliciting funds and private subscriptions for it. He received a good-sized contribution from the owner of one of the city’s newspapers.

p. 217-18, on Greely’s New Hampshire retirement home: Their summer home was at Conway, New Hampshire, where they first started going in the early nineteen hundreds. Mrs. Greely’s cousin, Joe Nesmith, an artist, had discovered the place and bought up seven or eight miles along the front of Lake Pequaquet (now called Conway Lake). …

In 1912 or 1913, Rose and Gertrude bought an old abandoned farmhouse, about eight miles from South Conway, which they named "Hidden House." It is what its name implies, rather difficult to find. A newspaper reporter once spent three days driving around the country trying to find it, when General Greely’s opinion was being sought during the Peary-Cook controversy. He went back to Boston unsuccessful, and stated that the North Pole was easier to find than General Greely.

They did very little to change the house, but added a small lean-to room for General Greely, which he called his office. It was built of old boards from a barn and left quite plain. Austere and unaffected, it was a real explorer’s room, not the sort designed by interior decorators with pine paneling and every refinement, but what an explorer would make for himself. The walls were lined with bookshelves from floor to ceiling, crammed with books and papers and orderly litter.