On Polar Trails.

Mercer Co. Historical Society has Goodsell’s ms which in 650 pages shows his transition from Peary admirer to bitter enemy. This 200 p. revision is extensively cut and edited by Whisenhut from Goodsell’s diaries.

p. 17: As we went about the shipboard routine, we found another matter that needed resolution. Before leaving New York everyone on board had received many packages of books and magazines. Newspaper reports had indicated that we were short of reading material to entertain us on the voyage. As a result, kind and thoughtful friends, as well as the general public, had provided us with a wide variety of reading material. The unopened packages had been piled on the deck until we had time to sort through the material. Since we had to clear the decks for our departure and for the reception for President Roosevelt, most of the packages were thrown through the main hatch into the coal bin to get them out of sight. We now discovered that the few remaining tons of coal were rapidly disappearing into the furnaces; much of the literature was going into the fire also.

I got busy in the hold amidst the coal and selected the best books and magazines, some of which were in packages that had never been opened. The sailors hoisted the literature I had discarded to the deck. Mr. Gushue, the mate, and I made a second brief inspection to be sure I had not overlooked anything of value. Then the rest was consigned to the waves. Our route northward could literally have been traced by the number of books, magazines and papers discarded on the sea.

For me and some of the others on board, the reading material proved a valuable gift. Although some friendly citizens had scoured their attics to donate several thousand pounds of old newspapers and outdated school books, many of them were mostly useless to us. Some of the gifts, however, were interesting and valuable books; after careful sorting, we had complete files for a year of two of the best magazines. The literature we salvaged was certainly a welcome addition to the small library available to the expedition members and served as a pleasant diversion in the long winter nights of the Arctic.

p. 19, carpenter Bartlett made several shelves for Goodsell’s books: I had brought the majority of my medical library, and I had purchased some books of my favorite poets and other fiction from my home library, to which I had made a considerable addition culled from the books sent on board the Roosevelt.

p. 21, on Goodsell’s admiration for Henson: One of the most remarkable men on the voyage, aside from Peary, was Matthew Henson. He had been with Peary longer than anyone else and was as experienced a seaman and arctic traveler as one could hope to find. I had first met Henson when I was in New York to sign on for the trip and had my first visit to the Roosevelt.

Henson was an athletic, light-colored man born on August 8, 1866, in Charles County, Maryland. His parents had been free before the Civil War; they later moved to Washington, D.C. After attending school for six years, he shipped as a cabin boy, but on his next voyage, he signed as an ablebodied seaman. During four years as a seaman he visited China, Japan, Manila, North Africa, Spain, France, and southern Russia through the Black Sea….

During those long months in the North, I found Henson to be one of the most pleasant and helpful members of the expedition. He was resourceful and loyal; his presence on the ship made my initiation into arctic travel much more pleasant.

[Over the next few pages Goodsell goes on to give brief character assessments of fellow expedition members, with very little on Bartlett other than to say he was “a stable and valuable member.” Included are MacMillan, Marvin, Borup, Wardwell, Percy.]

p. 25: sorted more books and magazines. He used a file of Strand magazine illustrations to decorate and brighten the mess room.

p. 36-38—on a wrestling accident, also lice and other medical matters.

p.93: The space in my cabin was so limited—about four by eight feet—that I found it necessary to box my surplus books and everything else that could be spared and store them in the after hold where the uniform low temperatures would prevent condensation. The outer walls of the cabin, freezing and thawing alternatively, constantly formed great quantities of ice on the floor.