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Antarctic and the Arctic

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  • Sitting on Penguins [An Antarctic Diary] – Stephen Murray-Smith

    Sitting on Penguins [An Antarctic Diary] – Stephen Murray-Smith

    A fine edition first edition of this provocative and we believe misunderstood book by the opinionated Murray-Smith.

    HS spent the summer of 1985-86 in the Antarctic and this represents his diary interspersed with history, information and opinions and views on individuals and the greater Australian objectives and achievements in this icy world.

    Octavo, 249 pages, illustrated and with end paper maps. A fine as copy as you will get. Published by Hutchinson in 1988. the jacket looks a bit strange front right but that’s what it’s like.

    PS never sit on a penguin!

    Murray-Smith a honed Antarctic diary with views and opinions that could still shape the future.


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  • Beyond the Frozen Sea – Visions of Antarctica – Edwin Mickleburgh

    Beyond the Frozen Sea – Visions of Antarctica – Edwin Mickleburgh

    A first edition published by The Bodley Head, London in 1987. Large octavo, 256 pages, endpaper maps, charts and great photographs throughout. Very good condition

    Much admired by the late Sir Peter Scott which makes it a winner for Voyager on that fact alone.

    This book is for one not only interested in the history of the discovery of Antarctica but also the preservation of its natural resources and environment.

    In the history we have from Cook and an interesting reference to Coleridge and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner [Spurred Voyage on to find a special copy]. Then the first sighting, perhaps first landfall, over-wintering and the heroic era.

    Moving to resources the best narrative we have read on the devastation of the seal colonies … island to island. Mineral resources, changes [then] in weather patterns, preservation of the krill, the Treaty and the reality of its working … food for thought with a big renewal coming up not too far off.

    In terms of depth and breadth of content a big book on the Antarctic.


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

    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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  • 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.

    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.

    Even 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 – one large and folding at the 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 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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  • Ice-Bound on Kolguev [Russian Arctic] – Aubyn Trevor-Battye – 1895

    Ice-Bound on Kolguev [Russian Arctic] – Aubyn Trevor-Battye – 1895

    Title continues .. A Chapter in the Exploration of Arctic Europe to Which is Added a Record of the Natural History of the Island.

    Published by Archibald Constable, London in 1895.

    Royal octavo, xxviii, 458 pages with 3 large folding colour maps, 25 plates and numerous in text illustrations. Original two tone cloth covered binding, top edge gilt. Showing a little age, still a good copy of a scarce account.

    The island of Kolguev is in the south-eastern Barents Sea of the coast near the Kanon Peninsula in Russia. The author went there in 1894. He studied the Samoyeds (now referred to as Nenets) wildlife, botany, geology etc.

    Illustrations by Nettleship and Charles Whymper.

    Oxford graduate Aubyn Trevor-Battye (1855-1922) travelled widely in the north both in America, Europe and Asia. During the Kolguev expedition winter came early and along with companion they had to make a long unplanned journey through northern Russia. Through this experience Trevor-Battye joined the Conway expedition to Spitsbergen in 1896.

    Unfortunately oil was discovered on Kolguyev in the 1980’s and the well is still active but a low levels. The population of the island is around 400 of which half work at the oil well the balance are Nenets who still hunt wild reindeer, fish etc.

    Kolguyev Island accessible in the 1890’s and first studied by Trevor-Battye.


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