Campus News

MacMillan's Book about Peary's 1908-09 North Pole Expedition Re-issued

Story posted December 17, 2008

In 1934, on the 25th anniversary of Robert E. Peary's 1908-09 North Pole Expedition, Donald B. MacMillan published How Peary Reached the Pole, which was his account of that historic expedition. Now, to mark the 100th anniversary the expedition, The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, working with McGill-Queens University Press, has re-issued MacMillan's book in an expanded edition.

Peary Cover200.jpg

By the time MacMillan wrote How Peary Reached the Pole he was an accomplished Arctic explorer in his own right.

Drawing on the journal he kept during the expedition, he provides an intimate view of his day-to-day activities and relationships with other members of the party, detailing how he learned to drive dog teams, camp in sub-zero temperatures and travel safely across the ice-covered Polar Sea.

How Peary Reached the Pole allows today's readers to see Arctic landscapes and Inughuit culture as MacMillan experienced them, providing a perspective from which to consider the northern environmental and cultural issues that continue to concern individuals and nations today, 100 years later.

Available for the first time since its original publication, this expanded edition of How Peary Reached the Pole features a new biography of MacMillan and eleven color images from his hand-tinted lantern slide collection. This publication is part of the Arctic Museum's ongoing program celebrating the centennial of Robert E. Peary's North Pole Expedition.

The new edition results from the efforts of College staff and students. Museum staff members Susan A. Kaplan, Genevieve M. LeMoine, and Anne Witty wrote the new introduction. Audrey Amidon '03 worked with MacMillan's North Pole hand-tinted glass lantern slides, matching them to events described in his book and journal. The staff of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives facilitated access to MacMillan's North Pole journal and lecture notes.

ZoŽ Eddy '10, museum volunteer Mildred Jones and Amidon scanned the images for ease of use and publication. Arctic Museum staff members and work-study students helped Kaplan proofread the galleys.

Kane Lodge Foundation, Inc. and the Museum's Charles L. Hildreth Fund supported the research, preservation and digitization of the MacMillan images. Additionally, Kane Lodge generously provided the Arctic Museum a publication subvention.

Information about the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center's Peary Centennial programs, including instructions on how to access the ongoing 1908-09 historic blog, can be found on the Museum's Web site.

Books may be purchased at the Arctic Museum or ordered by going to the McGill-Queens University Press Web site.

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