KOETTLITZ (REGINALD) - JACKSON-HARMSWORTH EXPEDITION Autograph journals of Reginld Koettlitz for the years 1895 and 1896 documenting his life and work in Franz Josef Land, 3 vol., Franz Josef Land, 1895-1896
Lot 55
KOETTLITZ (REGINALD) - JACKSON-HARMSWORTH EXPEDITION Autograph journals of Reginld Koettlitz for the years 1895 and 1896 documenting his life and work in Franz Josef Land, 3 vol., Franz Josef Land, 1895-1896
Sold for £23,750 (US$ 29,002) inc. premium

Lot Details
KOETTLITZ (REGINALD) - JACKSON-HARMSWORTH EXPEDITION Autograph journals of Reginld Koettlitz for the years 1895 and 1896 documenting his life and work in Franz Josef Land, 3 vol., Franz Josef Land, 1895-1896
Autograph journals of Reginald Koettlitz kept in the field while serving on the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition in Franz Josef Land, between 1 January 1895 and 21 October 1896, with an interval of six weeks between 7 June 1896 and 23 August, in three volumes, upwards of 500 closely written pages (1895 and to June 1896 in ink, the remainder in indelible pencil [typical of military journal of the period]), incorporating occasional sketches and drawings, 1895 and to June 1896 bound in half roan (205 x 130mm.), August to October 1896 stitched in wrappers (135 x 80mm.), Franz Josef Land, 1895-1896


  • The expedition of 1894-97 to Franz Joseph Land led by Frederick George Jackson and sponsored by Alfred Harmsworth had as its ostensible aim the achievement of the North Pole by a landward route (although Harmsworth regarded this as secondary to the work of scientific discovery): 'The expedition had its base at Cape Flora in Franz Josef Land for three years. Jackson and Albert Borlase Armitage explored British Channel and found to the north Queen Victoria Sea, which put an end to hopes of a poleward journey... Jackson's travels revealed the main features of the western half of the group of islands' (R. N. Rudmose Brown, DNB). The present journals, written by the physician Reginald Koettlitz (1860-1916), who was later to take part in Scott's Discovery Expedition, provide a detailed account of the latter part of the years spent in the Arctic. Of peculiar interest, perhaps, is the extremely vivid account they provide of the day-to-day frustrations suffered by a small party with limited resources under the command of someone lacking Shackleton's leadership skills. To take a typical example, we find him writing on 25 February 1896: "J[ackson] is very procrastinating, as last year over his sledge journey, also full of indecisions as for instance today he stood looking at a job & not deciding what to do for some time, also when making his map continually changing the outline of coasts so as to become a byword among us. Pottering about when doing anything &c"; adding two days later: "Up at 8.30. After breakfast A.B.A[rmitage] placed his stool & basin with water right in doorway of our cabin he had previously for some time been washing in passage near door, in everybody's way, & some had complained about it. I wished to get thro' for my things & spoke to him about his placing it there & blocking up the way, he thereupon spoke up in his most truculent manner 'Where else am I to go'... At breakfast A. asked me whether those that took much sleep generally lived longer than those who took little, to wh. I answered that they did. J. thereupon came out of his room where he was late dressing & said in his insulting manner 'That's all rot'... Continued asking me questions & shutting me up in my answers also my authorities and giving insults continually... At about 11 a.m. A.B.A. wanting to create a discussion & to get away from the work he had in hand, namely lashing some aluminium wire netting on sledges for journey came running in & reported a bear on floe. J. as mad as a hatter again... At dinner time another bear turned up near house. J. & A. took rifles & went after it. J. again turned as mad as a hatter. 'Where's my bloody coat.' It went away west. Nimrod did not see the bear so J. swore at him. 'you Bloody dog,' & made a lunge to kick him & fell into snow drift full length with his rifle at full cock". Nevertheless, as Koettlitz records on 23 July 1895, exploration did sometimes have its rewards: "Mr. J. very nice & confidentially spoke of the joys of the explorer, that it exceeded that of any other, & said that the next land, 'not other peoples land but Jackson's land,' & of course I agreed with him, he also spoke of sending poppies to the Princess of Wales this being Alexandra Land. It is certainly very exhilarating to feel oneself to be one of the first to ever set foot on a new land. Thus I was the first to step ashore on C. Neale & one of the two first to set foot upon the high land above".
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