ARCTIC and ALASKA WHITNEY (HARRY) Hunting with the Eskimos, FIRST EDTION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED FOR MRS. JANE STILLMAN 1913
Lot 189
ARCTIC and ALASKA WHITNEY (HARRY) Hunting with the Eskimos, FIRST EDTION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED FOR MRS. JANE STILLMAN 1913
Sold for £13,800 (US$ 23,171) inc. premium
Lot Details
ARCTIC and ALASKA
WHITNEY (HARRY) Hunting with the Eskimos, FIRST EDTION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED FOR MRS. JANE STILLMAN 1913 on the front pastedown, and by the recipient on initial blank, folding map, plates, the presentation leaf somewhat defaced by later inscription, front hinge detached, publisher’s blue cloth, 8vo, New York, The Century Co., 1911; Photograph album, INSCRIBED FOR MRS. JANE STILLMAN 1913 on the first leaf, 394 gelatin silver photographs mounted four to a page, original limp leather album, repaired, oblong folio (280 x 355mm.), 1909-1912, sold as association copies

Footnotes

  • Harry Whitney was a hunter from New Haven, Conn. In the summer of 1908 he was offered a passage to Northwest Greenland by Robert Peary (1856-1920) who was travelling north in the Rooseveldt, commanded by the celebrated Robert Bartlett. At New Bedford Whitney transferred into the Erik which was carrying additional supplies for Peary’s expedition, which took him to Etah, while Peary moved to establish his base for an attempt on the Pole on Ellesmere Island. Whitney hunted with the Inuit both north and south of Etah, and eventually decided to overwinter at Annoatok utilizing the house of crates and packing cases built by Dr. Frederick Cook (1865-1940) in the previous year. Cook was presumed lost, but in April 1909 he struggled into Annoatok, to find Whitney in residence, and with the news that he had reached the Pole in April 1908, but the westerly drift of the ice had upset his preparations for the return journey, forcing him to overwinter on Devon Island. Learning that Peary was attempting to reach the North Pole even as Cook arrived in Annoatok, he asked Whitney to say nothing of his discovery, and set off on a remarkable journey south to Upernavik where he took passage on a ship bound for Copenhagen, putting in at Lerwick, from where Cook telegraphed the news his discovery to the New York Herald. When Peary arrived at Annoatok he learned of Cook’s claim from the Inuit. He offered Whitney a passage home, but declined to take Cook’s expedition records, which Cook had left behind for Whitney to bring back. Whitney is supposed to have cached the records in three trunks at Annoatok, but they have never been recovered. Peary made full speed for Labrador from where he was able to tell the New York Times, that he had discovered the North Pole. The controversy over the conflicting claims has lost none of its vitality.

    The book, illustrated by Whitney’s photographs, and 72 photographs in the album relate to the 1908-1909 expedition. Whitney's account describes the several instances he witnessed of problokto, or temporary insanity among the Inuit.

    Whitney was back in Greenland again in 1910 (130 photographs), travelling north in the supply ship Beothic for musk ox, walrus and polar bear, the final photograph being the Pollock Rip lightship. This section contains come very fine group photographs of Inuit with the smiling faces of the women who proved irresistible to many Arctic explorers.

    In 1912 there was a sealing expedition with Robert Bartlett in the Neptune (24 photographs), followed by an expedition to Alaska and Northern Alberta (168 photographs).
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