[Manuscript Catalog of Letters and Documents pertaining to the 1884 Greely Relief Expedition to the Arctic].
Brief catalog or inventory listing approximately 80 manuscripts and documents pertaining to the outfitting and progress of the Greely Relief Expedition to the Canadian Arctic.
The expedition was launched in early 1884 to rescue survivors of the tragic Lady Franklin Bay Expedition of 1881, led by U.S. Army Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely. The Expedition planned to do scientific research above the Arctic Circle and best the British by achieving the record of having explored farthest north. The Expedition did not receive supplies and relief in 1882 and 1883 and circumstances became dire. When finally rescued in July 1884 by the Greely Relief Expedition, a grim account of starvation, death, mutiny, and alleged cannibalism emerged. Only Greely and six of the original expedition members survived.
The catalog records letters and telegrams to and from U.S. Government officials such as U.S. Secretary of State Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, U.S. Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, and Greely Relief Expedition leader, Commander Winfield S. Schley, U.S.N.
Entries are one to three lines each, in length. They range from December 1883 to August 1884, when the Greely Expedition returned to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The information is arranged alphabetically by subject including pages devoted to all four rescue vessels: USS Bear, USS Thetis, HMS Alert, and the private Scottish ship Loch Garry.
It is unclear if an individual, agency or institution compiled this catalog. It has been prepared in chronological order by topic, perhaps with an eye to an official report. The official report by Commander Schley was submitted to U.S. Secretary of the Navy, William E. Chandler (who is mentioned in the catalog), and was published by the GPO in Washington in 1887.
A few sample entries:
• “Telegram July 19 – from Cmdr. Schley, St. John’s N.B. reports arrival of Alert July 18 with Loch Garry” (p3)
• “Instructions [to USS Bear] from Cmdr. Schley previous to sailing from N.Y”. (p10)
• “Naval Attaché, London…Acknowledging recpt. of orders of Feb. 1 resprcting inspn. of armor plate.” (p23)
• “Dutton, C.O. proposition for using balloons for Arctic Explorations.” (p31)
• “Hoffman Wickham. Minister. Press copies of letters in reference to assistance from Danish Authorities in Greenland, and from the Royal Greenland Trading Co.” (59)
• “Letter to Ens. Chambers giving him instructions in regard to his duties on board Loch Garry.” (p83)
• “Miscellaneous Correspondence Greely Relief Board”...April 8. May 13. 12 June (concerning compensation for ice pilot).” (p91)
• “Report of a Bd. of Officers to consider an Expedition for relief of Greely.” (p127)
• “State Department…Apr. 4 Enclosing telegrams regarding procuring dogs in Denmark.” (p135)
Description: [Manuscript Catalog of Letters and Documents pertaining to the 1884 Greely Relief Expedition to the Arctic].
[America, c.1884]. 17 pages with manuscript entries. Note Book with 181 numbered pages and tabbed index leaves. Sm. Folio. Quarter red sheep and marbled boards. Very Good.