Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux: Being the Narrative of an Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, in the Years 1860, 1861, and 1862.

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Author: Hall, Charles Francis (1821-1871)

Year: 1865

Publisher: Harper & Brothers

Place: New York


[i-xviii]+29-595+[4 adds] pages with added title, frontispiece, colored folding map at back, 103 illustrations and appendixes. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 6 1/2") bound in original publisher's brown cloth with gilt lettering to spine. (Arctic Bibliography: 6485) First American edition.

Contains narrative of the voyage of the George Henry to Holsteinborg, West Greenland, then across Davis Strait to Cornelius Grinnell Bay... Includes throughout, detailed descriptions of Eskimo life as shared by the author, the sledging, food, etc., notes on cold and its effects, the terrain of the regions explored, and remains of the Forbisher encampment discovered; also note on polar bear liver as poisonous."

Charles Francis Hall (1821 – November 8, 1871) was an American Arctic explorer, best known for the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death while leading the American-sponsored Polaris expedition in an attempt to be the first to reach the North Pole. The expedition was marred by insubordination, incompetence, and poor leadership. Hall returned to the ship from an exploratory sledging journey, and promptly fell ill. Before he died, he accused members of the crew of poisoning him. An exhumation of his body in 1968 revealed that he had ingested a large quantity of arsenic in the last two weeks of his life. Around 1857, Hall became interested in the Arctic and spent the next few years studying the reports of previous explorers and trying to raise money for an expedition, primarily intended to learn the fate of Franklin's lost expedition. Hall went on his first expedition by gaining passage on the George Henry, a whaler commanded by Captain Sidney O. Budington out of New Bedford. They got as far as Baffin Island, where the George Henry was forced to spend the winter. Local Inuit told Hall about relics of Martin Frobisher's mining venture at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island, to which Hall traveled to inspect these items up close. He was assisted by his newly recruited Inuit guides, husband and wife "Joe" Ebierbing and "Hannah" Tookoolito. Hall also found what he took to be evidence of the fact that some members of Franklin's lost expedition might still be alive. On his return to New York, Hall arranged for the Harper Brothers to publish his account of the expedition: Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux. It was edited by William Parker Snow, equally obsessed by Franklin's fate. The two eventually came to a disagreement – mostly due to Snow's slow editing. Snow later claimed Hall had used his ideas for the search for Franklin without giving him due credit.


Recased with original spine strip laid down, gilt dulled to fading, previous owner's name on front end paper, edge wear, some soiling. Internally very good.

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