On the Arctic Frontier: Ernest Leffingwell’s Polar Explorations and Legacy

A biography of Leffingwell based on his papers at Dartmouth, extending from his participation in the Baldwin-Ziegler expedition of 19

p. 6, in September 1906 on Flaxman Island on Beaufort Sea expedition of the Thetis: Meanwhile, Leffingwell dug a well two feet deep in ground ice for fresh water. He spent his leisure time reading Barren Grounds of Canada by Warburton Pike, and began working on a geology article about Flaxman Island and glaciation [published in 1908].

p. 72, the following December describes a Fall 1906 trip to Herschel Island aboard the Duchess of Bedford. On boxing day: In the evenings, Leffingwell read about Elisha Kent Kane’s Arctic trip in search of Sir John Franklin and compared some of their experiences with his. He wrote a self-deprecating description: “judging by my own abilities which I place as high as those of a scurvy ridden crew of sailors.” [The dates here make no sense to me; perhaps I missed something but 1906 was 15 years before Franklin’s first overland expedition, while Kane’s search for Franklin was written in the 1850s. Collins source note on Leffingwell’s Papers gives no date for this quotation.]

p. 72 shows Leffingwell travelling and learning the Inupiat language.

By January 2, 1907, he is doing various tasks: He spent leisure time reading Don Quixote.

p. 79, returned to the ship by early March where they were greeted by intense winds: Leffingwell was grateful that they were on the ship and not on the ice. He used the time to read books, develop two dozen photographic plates, and make 40 prints.

p. 82, back to sledging amid various hazards: Leffingwell read Hamlet and wrote “Quite a delightful time in camp in spite of penetrating E wind outside.”