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A Selective Bibliography of Exploration
Relating to the United States


by William H. Goetzmann
University of Texas at Austin

Part V. American Arctic Explorers

See Goetzmann, New Lands, New Men, op. cit., pp. 423-460. William Henry Gilder, Schwatka's Search, Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1881. Richard Gilder of the New York Herald accompanied Lt. Schwatka on his 3,251 mile trek across northern Canada in 1878 in which they discovered the remains of Sir John Franklin's disaster in 1845 that had been long sought by the British Admiralty. Also see Josephine Diebitsch Peary, My Arctic Journal: A Year Among Ice- Fields and Eskimos, With an Account of the Great White Journey Across Greenland by Robert E. Peary, Contemporary Publishing Co., NY, 1894. Robert E. Peary, The North Pole: Its Discovery in 1909 Under the Auspices of the Peary Arctic Club, Frederick Stokes Co., NY, 1910, repr., Cooper Square Press, 2001, John Edward Weems, Peary, The Explorer and the Man, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1967, Theon Wright, The Big Nail: The Story of the Cook-Peary Feud, John Day Co., NY, 1970, Matthew Henson, A Black Explorer at the North Pole, Forward by Robert E., Peary and Introduction by Booker T. Washington, NY, 1912, repr. U. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1989. Several books assert that Peary never reached the Pole. The most complete advocate of this theory is Wally Herbert, The Noose of Laurels, Atheneum, NY, 1989. Peary was vindicated in 1990 by Thomas D. Davies and the Foundation for the Art of Navigation by using modern photogrametry. See Goetzmann, New Lands, New Men, repr., TSHA, Austin, TX, 1995, pp. XVIII-XVIV.

There were a number of strivers for the North Pole. Among the best accounts are, Elisha Kent Kane, Arctic Exploration in the Years 1853, '54, '55, 2 vols., Childs and Peterson, Philadelphia, PA, 1856. This made him the biggest national hero since John C. Frémont in 1845, as he survived three perilous years locked in the ice and claimed to have discovered the mythical "open polar sea," the Northwest Passage at the top of North America. Also see George Corner, Dr. Kane of the Arctic Seas, Temple U. Press, Philadelphia, 1972 and Mark Sawin, Raising Kane: The Creation and Consequences of Fame in Ante-Bellum America… Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin, TX, May, 2001. Also see Isaac Hayes, The Open Polar Sea: Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery Towards the North Pole, Hurd and Houghton, NY, 1867, Adolphus Greeley, Three Years of Arctic Service: An Account of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition of 1881-1884 and the Attainment o f Farthest North, 2 vols., Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1886. Perhaps the best comment on the Greeley Expedition is Proceedings of the Proteus Court of Inquiry on the Greeley Relief Expedition of 1883, GPO, Washington, D.C., 1884. The best Arctic expedition tale of all is Chauncy Loomis, Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer, Knopf, NY, 1971 and repr. Modern Library, 2000. Two general books conclude this list, which does not include American explorers around the globe such as Henry Morton Stanley and Nathaniel Palmer of the Antarctic. The books are Clive Holland, ed., Fartherest North: The Quest for the North Pole, Carroll & Graff, NY, 1994., and Pierre Berton, The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909, MacLelland and Stewart, NY, 1988.

Introduction || Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 || Conclusion

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