p. 1: During the winter of 1932 Vilhjalmur Stefansson asked me to lend some of the relics of the Jeannette Expedition, commanded by my husband, to Mr. Bassett Jones of the Explorers Club. Mr. Jones was organizing a private exhibition of Arctic books and relics at the Grolier Club of New York. I had such things aplenty, of course, and gladly complied. Among those chosen were the large journal written by my husband on board the Jeannette up to the time of her crushing by the ice pack, the two ice journals in pencil, which faithfully recorded his fearful trip southward with his men to Siberia across the ice, and a silk flag which I had made as my contribution to the Expedition.
The exhibition was a great success and brought together many people who had been concerned with the Arctic, among them Mrs. Robert E. Peary, whom I had always admired but had never before met. A few weeks later I invited about twenty of the group of my house for tea, and there the talk turned largely on an old clipping I had which told of a tattered section of chart found on Commander De Long’s body.
Mr. Stefansson and the others were much interested, and more than ever when I found that I had a portion of the chart, too. My husband had carried it, rather than the full sized map, to guide him southward on the Lena Delta.
When I mentioned that I had in my cellar a trunkful of letters which dealt with those years of preparation and consummation of the Jeannette Expedition, Mr. Stefansson urged me to get them out and re-read them. He was confident that there was a story in them and that I ought to write it.
p. 127, Mrs. De Long describes the library aboard the Juniata, the ship that would be renamed the Jeannette after it completed its trip from New York to San Francisco, via the Straits of Magellan:
We had a very fine library. Sir Allen Young had left some of his books and Mr. Bennett sent us his whole Arctic collection, telling us that some of the volumes were very valuable but that he thought they would be more use to us than to him. I decided to do my Arctic reading chronologically and so began with Scoresby the Whaler and read the account of each expedition as it came along. I became deeply interested and, as my husband and the other officers were all reading on the same subject, we had a great deal of food for thought and discussion.
Sometimes, when he thought I had read long enough, George would pull me from my chair, pass my arm through his and walk me briskly up and down the deck, with little Sylvie [their daughter] hurrying alongside to keep up with us….
Not once in all that six months did the time hang heavy upon our hands. There was always plenty to do. Not once did we have recourse to a game of cards, to backgammon or any of the diversions common to idle hours at that time. We were utterly absorbed in the study of the Arctic and the preparations for the coming Expedition.