Boreal Ties (Hardcover)

Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition

By Kim Fairley Gillis (Editor), Silas Hibbard Ayer (Editor)

University of New Mexico Press, 9780826328106, 248pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2002

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

In 1899 Robert Peary, exploring northern Greenland in search of the North Pole, lost seven toes to frostbite but refused to cut his exploration short to seek treatment. When his wife learned of his condition, she and their seven-year-old daughter set off in July 1900 to find Peary and persuade him to come home. The 1901 expedition documented in this fascinating new book was organized to deliver supplies to Peary and to search for his wife and child. The book comprises the annotated diaries and photographs of two participants in the expedition, Clarence Wyckoff and Louis Bement, close friends from Ithaca, New York who paid $500 each to join the voyage.

Wyckoff and Bement embarked looking forward to what twenty-first century travelers would call adventure tourism. They envisioned themselves hunting wild game, admiring and photographing magnificent scenery, and escaping the stresses of their lives as businessmen. The scenery did not disappoint, as the photographs assembled here testify, but the stress of sailing in polar seas was worse than the travelers imagined. They endured maggoty food, head lice, and hives. The ice and the incompetence of the shipas crew threatened their lives on more than one occasion. In addition to the drama of the journey and the magnificent Arctic scenery, this travelogue is a valuable record of the American explorersa encounters with Inuit people, many of whom are identified by name.