Fort Monmouth Communications Museum

An extensive collection of Greely material, much of it given to Fort Monmouth by Mrs. Stafford in March 1964, shortly before her and her brother’s gifts to the Explorers Club. This included chinaware from Fort Conger (brown floral design) and from the Proteus (2 eggcups), botanical specimens, other artifacts, and a good number of manuscripts and printed material. These were materials retrieved by Peary in 1899 and included letters, condensed meteorological and other observations, etc. The Collection was moved to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, in 2008.

In no particular order, here is a description of materials found:

–P.-J. Stahl’s Histoire du Prince Z et de la Princesse Flores, par P.-J. Stahl [Pierre Hetzel]. (Bruxelles et Leipzig: Kiessling, Schnpes et co. 1855). This book was found by Donald MacMillan, probably when he visited Lady Franklin Bay in 1915. It had been presented by Greely to Rice on Christmas 1882, and Rice attempted to translate the book into English.

–Journals of H. S. Gardiner, Signal Corps. Private journals from 1881-83,

–Letter of Feb 1899, a report by Peary that the orig. observations of the LFBE are carefully packed and that the letter press copies would “be taken with us.” Does this refer to forms or observations that were actually printed there?

–variety of printed forms, for expenditures, for sealskin suits and boots, for rations Sept. 30, 1881. Greely seems to have kept a close eye on these.

–Copy of Arctic Moon No 2, Dec. 15, 1881. Price 25c. Ed. by Lockwood, Rice, and Henry. Another letter of Nov. 25, 1881, says of the Arctic Moon: it is supposed to shed light when the original orb is on the other side of the earth. Its reception [by the men] presages well its future success.

–Frank Leslie’s Illustrated. Cover Aug 16, 1884, engraving showing reunion of Greely and his wife in Portsmouth.

–Instructions No 71 and 72, for the two IPY parties, incl. on p. 45-47 a list of books expected to be taken on the Barrow and Lady Franklin expeditions. Prepared by Louis V. Caziac of the Signal Corps.

–Programme hectograph of “Lime Juice Club” (Dutch Island Opera House), Dec. 26, 1881. Programme included Indian war dances, female impersonators, and plantation melodies. Also a menu for the 1881 Christmas dinner.

–Marie Peary Stafford on “Fort Conger re-discovered”: But what concerned Peary most were the books & papers, most of them in sealed bundles with the name of someone inscribed on the outside. Even these had been left behind on that desperate march to the south, but evidently there had been hopes that the ship would return to the fort & pick up the expedition equipment.

–typescript of Greely letter on death of Israel. He read as much of the burial service as he could without offending Israel’s Jewish faith.

–Letter to Mrs Pavy to Peary: My dear Mrs. Pavy: In accordance with my promise I send you the papers of Doctor Pavy, found by me in his trunk at Fort Conger. Besides these, the trunk, a small one, contained nothing but soiled clothing, some books, none of which contained any inscription and some blank paper. I think these will reach you safely. Very sincerely, PEARY. [Elsewhere Peary said he couldn’t bring out the books or clothing this year.]

–Sermons of Phillips Brooks (not found on our 9/17/07 visit), also found by MacMillan in 1909

–there are also letters from the final and desperate part of the journey after leaving Fort Conger.