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Antarctic, Arctic, Polar

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  • Through Lapland with Skis & Reindeer – Frank Hedges Butler – 1919

    Through Lapland with Skis & Reindeer – Frank Hedges Butler – 1919

    title continues … with Some Account of the Ancient Lapland and the Murman Coast.

    With the author’s brilliant bookplate on front pastedown, mots likely a presentation copy. Also probably later inscription of Edwin Clements who had participated in the North Russian expeditionary Force 1918-1919.

    Published by Fisher Unwin, London in 1919 a third impression. Octavo, 286 pages, decorated boards. Nicely illustrated from photographs taken on the expedition and other historical items for context. Four maps specifically annotated by the author, including folding map at the rear.

    A super account that befits the nature of the author. Butler was one of the first in England to own a motor vehicle … a Benz in 1898. Along with a now famous Mr Rolls formed the Royal Automobile Club. He took to serious ballooning with over 100 flight .. one from London to the South of France … partly designed to observe the Solar Eclipse of 1907. He formed the Royal Aeronautical Club as a result … he was the second private person to take flying lessons and flew with Wilbur Wright in France. Naturally, he was a member of The Ski Club.

    We say the bookplate is “brilliant” as it meets the test of defining the owners character with the images of the very vintage motor car; hot air balloon; Wilbur Wright aircraft and Reindeer powered sled … with the odd book thrown in.

    We have not described the book … it’s brilliant

    Frank Butler out skiing in northmost Lapland … if you want to start a Club this is the man to follow.


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  • Encyclopedia of Exploration 1850 to 1940 – The Oceans, Islands and Polar Regions.

    An as new copy of this great work by the unique Raymond Howgego, published by the equally unique Hordern House in 2006. Part of a greater series of works likely not yet complete … but the modern era will be a challenge despite Everest etc. This one stands on its own partly because of the Polar emphasis …

    A comprehensive [understatement] reference guide to the history and literature of exploration, travel and colonisation in the oceans, the islands, New Zealand, and the polar regions from 1850 to the early decades of the twentieth century.

    Large quarto, x, 724 pages, containing 521 major articles, referencing 3000 odd individuals, in over 700,000 words all cross referenced to primary and secondary sources … indexes of persons, ship, bibliography 14,000 works) etc.

    The format is interesting, perhaps a little challenging … Entries begin with leaders of expeditions and if there is more than one expedition these are dealt with as separate chronological entries i.e., Scott, Amundsen, Charcot etc. Major members then follow the principal … so Frank Wild for example follows Shackleton. Separate entries summarise activity by location e.g., New Guinea, New Zealand, St Helena etc.

    Raymond Howgego was teacher of physics before he gave that up to become a full-time traveller and travel writer. Possibly put down more words than any other living person. Seemingly can handle almost all European languages and Arabic and probably a few others. He still has an interest in amateur radio and fixing electronic items … we withhold his call sign, but you can find it if you try.

    As new Howgego on the Island etc and the Polar Regions.


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  • Shores of Macquarie Island – Isobel Bennett – 1971

    Shores of Macquarie Island – Isobel Bennett – 1971

    A first edition of this interesting book on Antarctic Macquarie Island and its nature.

    Published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1971. Octavo, 69 pages plus useful bibliography and index. Nicely illustrated from photographs taken by the author. Very good. Another copy we like this book.

    Isobel Bennett was born in Brisbane and took an interest in Marine Biology at an early age. In her era one of the first females to be accepted into the Australian Antarctic program and onto Macquarie Island.

    A good “history of the island” is followed by a very readable sections on the role of the scientists, and the inhabitants and visitors to the island.

    A very good introduction and background to this lonely outpost.


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  • Northward over the “Great Ice”. A Narrative of Life and Work Along the Shores and upon the Interior ice-Cap of Northern Greenland in the Years 1886 and 1891-1897. In Two Volumes. Robert E Peary. First Edition 1898.

    Longer title continues …With a Description of the Little Tribe of Smith-Sound Eskimos, the Most Northerly Human Beings in the World, and an Account of the Discovery and Bringing Home of the “Saviksue,” or Great Cape-York Meteorites. with maps, diagrams and about eight hundred illustrations.

    American Polar hero Peary in the North of Greenland. Eventually Peary would claim the North Pole in 1909 contested by Frederick Cook. Over time Peary was generally given the recognition but in recent years, on further analysis, the barometer is swinging back to Cook. Cook and Greely participated in the adventures covered here.

    Peary was sponsored by the US navy and eventually given the rank of Commander. He went North many times and this account of two of those adventures, is enthralling. Well written and nicely summarised in the lengthy title.

    Published by Frederick Stokes, New York in 1898. Two quarto volumes printed on heavy paper stock, lxxx, 521 pages and xiv, 625 pages. Many illustrations as advertised one large folding image of Meteorite island, numerous maps on large folding at rear. Bound in original blue cloth with decoration to front, spines faded as usual with this set, binding holding firm, a pretty good example, and very clean inside.

    An expansive work which containing much information about the natives of northern Greenland and an expedition to McCormick bay which confirmed that Greenland was an island. Peary would learn much about Inuit survival that he would take forward to his later expeditions. He also took an Inuit mistress who he would later return to Greenland in 1909. There is also much about the Cape-York meteorites and an absolute monster at over 34 tonnes. Local Inuit had been using shards of the many meteorites to make tools and weapons so who knows how big they were originally.

    Robert Peary substantial work of Arctic Exploration and Ethnology in Northern Greenland


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  • Antarctica – Key Reference to Antarctic Literature – Renard – 1994

    Antarctica – Key Reference to Antarctic Literature – Renard – 1994

    The mammoth and quality Antarctica sale of Gaston Renard, through Leonard Joel in 1994 made the associated catalogue a principal reference for Antarctic narratives. Catalogued by Julien Renard who acknowledges the substantial assistance of Mileva Ilic and of his wife Pam and of Thelma Finn.

    The descriptions are full and where unique because of ownership, annotation etc they make for interesting reading in themselves. For those that collect and use Spence etc this is an essential addition and will be often off the shelf as scarce items raise their heads.

    Quarto, soft covers, 244 pages cataloguing 1,744 items followed by a useful “Reference List” and preceded by a useful bibliophilic “Explanatory Note”. Carries master collector Rodney Davidson’s bookplate … a little wave to front cover perhaps as a result.

    Renard first place of reference anything Antarctic of worth.


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  • Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    One of the most prolific writers of adventure for the young Scottish born Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894) went to Canada at the age of 16. There he worked for six years for the Hudson Bay Company. In his autobiography he said that writing long letters to his mother on the goings on of the fur traders was the stimulus behind his first books.

    His first was “The Hudson Bay Company” and then “The Young Fur Traders” … this book was his fourth. He went on to pen over 100 books to the delight of his adventure seeking followers.

    An early 20th century edition published by Nelson, London. Octavo, 509 pages, blue cloth covered boards with sailing ship design and design to spine, coloured frontispiece. A very good copy indeed.

    A party of explorers head into Eskimo territory to establish a fur trading post at Ungava Bay. Situated in the Nunavik region of Quebec.

    Ballantyne in one of those “live there did that” adventures.


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