Private Journal of George Comer while on the Relief Schooner George B. Cluett for the Crocker Land Expedition Party at Etah, North Greenland, 1915-1917

Expedition Outline:
August 12, 1915 Upernavik to North Star Bay p. 13-38
Sept. 13, 1915 North Star Bay p. 39-43
Sept. 24, 1915 Parker Snow Bay p. 44-87
Dec. 26, 1915 North Star Bay p. 88-163
(Land party of Comer, Peter?, Dr. Hunt & 5 natives for long
Winter at North Star Bay)
Sept. 8, 1916 Etah until 8/3/17 p. 164-302
Aug. 4, 1917 On Neptune returning to Sydney p. 303-318

p. 13, Upernavik Harbor, Aug 11, 1915. Comer and Hovey invited the Governor and others to the ship: The evening was made pleasant for them with the Gramophone and light refreshments.

p. 15, Melville Bay 8/15—more gramophone for the men.

p.47, 9/14 Parker Snow Bay. Comer believes they can get out but has no faith in the Captain who shows no skill in Ice navigation, is very little on deck, and never gives orders for subordinates.

p. 60, Oct. 18, 1915 Monday [couldn’t read all of my notes re Cruise of the Neptune]: The P——-? who we are is shown in a picture in the same? Book called the Cruise of the Neptune entitled Parker Snow Bay, p. 140.

p. 61, Thursday October 21: Have just finished reading with much interest a book entitled Creasy Decisive Battles of the World.

p. 64, Oct. 29: People take walks every day Doctor Tanqueray toes are well and he is able to take long walks. the evenings are passed in playing cards though Mr Allen reads while I spend my time working in Ivory and read some book.

Nov. 1915, Parker Snow Bay. Comer likes to make things: a pipe from soapstone for one of the men. A cane for Dr Hovey out of the wood from the old steamer Fox wrecked in Disco, another cane for Doctor Tanqueray—both have every heads to represent foxes at rest; plaster casts of foxes.

Nov. 17—encounters both Freuchen and MacMillan.

Nov. 20, most of the crew have lice: I am making a gavel but not to kill lice with.

Friday, Nov. 26: as there is no work carried on but playing cards & reading

Wedn Dec. 15: Our mate Mr. Davis whose Education in books is limited wishes to learn and be able to take observations of the sun for latitude and I am showing what I can to help him. He is a very superstitious man and believes in spirits and mermaids…he also thinks the vessel is haunted.

p. 94, Friday Jan 14, 1916, at North Star Bay: it has greatly surprised me to hear the [native] crewmen in the other room sing religious hymns of course in their own tongue but the music of our own country one piece Nearer my God to thee they carry the air through in fine voices without a break….

p. 98, he is alone with some native women…: I am trying to work on Ivory in fact to anything to help pass away the time.

p. 99, Friday Jan 28 1916: some natives come back with him [Doctor Hunt] one of them a boy about 14 who is Peary’s son a fine looking boy. [Annawak]

p. 110, March 4 Sat. 1916: Coo lo tingwar can not speak too highly of Doctor Cook who he thinks is a fine man and was pleased to hear that I knew him. He traveled with him a good deal when Cook was with Peary.

p. 110, Friday April 7: Outah and his brother Eginiwar(?) [Peary north Pole men] they do not speak well of Peary from the fact that he has not given them what he promised to give them, and it has left a bad impression no doubt in my mind but that he at the time promised them more than he would but for the pleasure he felt at the time of having reached the Pole…they do not hesitate to say they are disappointed in Peary.

p. 122, April 18, another cane from the Fox.

p. 125, April 27, tensions with Ebla

p. 130, May 14: One of the natives was operated on by the Doctor I took a Plaster Cast of Oqueia’s face another one of Peary’s men this makes the 4 and completes the number. Have made 10 plaster casts in all also one pair of hands.

p. 132ff, Comer is doing archaeological work on Sanders Island

p. 138, 6/12/16, returns to North Star Bay to work on ruins there

p. 140, 6/17, Meets Rasmussen and Koch. Freuchen also there.

p. 149, 7/18: Continue to dig and find good material…a year ago today we sailed from Sydney and have not accomplished any thing only worse.

p. 153, 8/4, men on Carey Island: … found the grave of a white man, one of a Swedish party of explorers their party died of starvation but just when the remainder died is uncertain in 1906 (Swedish Expedition).

p. 156, 8/15, leave for Etah. Aug & Sept sees constant concern for returning vessel which doesn’t come, e.g. 9/7: I am still in hopes of a vessel coming to take us Home.

p. 165, Monday Sept 11, 1916 in Etah: …there are many books here to read but just now would like more clothing.

p. 173, Oct 11: … have done about all that can be done to make the House comfortable the others play cards about an hour each evening there is a very large number of Books which add very much to our comfort

p. 181, Sat Dec 4: … there is always little things to be done so that there is no need to be idle there are many books here which is a great pleasure and though we should all be Home… I can not say that we are in any way uncomfortable….

p. 188, Monday Nov. 27: … the natives come in and enjoy their selves looking over the Pictures in the Book, though they have seen them many times there is a splendid Library here so there is books of all kinds-

p. 192, Dec 7, 1916, Relief ship Denmark, hired by AMNH to rescue the Crocker Land Ex. Was stuck in ice at North Star Bay.

p. 205, Jan 12, 1917—sees Peary’s son.

p. 206, Jan 17: The native young man who is employed here (Peary’s son Sarmly?) brought up a woman as his wife.

p. 210, Jan 28: Now that we are in the far North I find reading The Voyage of the Polaris especially interesting as it was in these latitudes that they had their troubles.

p. 211, Feb 3: The expedition is well fitted out with many books so that a person has a great opportunity to study and become better acquainted with writers and their subjects.

p. 233, March 19 1917, Letter from Edmund Otis Hovey to Donald MacMillan: I would suggest that the books of light fiction in the library be posted in boxes separate from the rest of the books, so that they may easily be left at the Seamen’s Institute or otherwise disposed of, as the Museum may direct.

p. 233, Mar 23, 1917: Mr. MacMillan looks out for the welfare of a few favored natives than he does for the white men who are with him this is apt to be a fault with some placed in charge who become infatuated with some of the natives this no doubt was one of the Principal causes of his loosing the respect of his men.