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Relics of the Jeannette Expedition To The Arctic

These newspaper accounts deal with the Arctic expedition of 1879 - 1881 led by George Washington De Long, in which his ship, Jeannette, was trapped in the ice and the men had to abandon ship and try to reach safety. De Long and most of his men died trying to reach civilisation, though 11 men survived. A congressional hearing was held because of the loss of life and the failure to achieve its scientific objectives. Some relics said to be from the Jeannette were later recovered, and the supposed drift of these relics helped Fridtjof Nansen in the planning of his successful North Pole assault. Most of these articles are related to these relics.

This article describes, and quotes from, a speech made by Commodore Melville who was one of the survivors of the Jeannette expedition.

This describes the relics, their reovery and subsequent loss. Much of the article centers on how Nansen used the drift of the relics to plan his route and centers on whether Nansen could actually have reached the Pole.

An article alleging that the "relics" were fraudulent and were set out as a joke by some officers on an U.S. steamer.

Here the authenticity of the relics is debated between Melville, a survivor of the expedition and Greely, who was very critical of it.
Here the Smithsonian Arctic expert, Dr. Dall, chimes in with the reasons he belives the relics to be fraudulent.

This article alleges that Nansen knew the relics were fraudulent and the experts cited here erroneously believed that Nansen would fail to reach the North Pole. This article describes in more detail why the relics were believed to be fraudulent and outline several scientific arguments that support their contention that Nansen could not successfully drift to the Pole.

A number of experts give their opinion about the authenticity of the relics.

Now the validity of Nansen's claim to have reached to Pole is questioned based on the opinions of experts who believe that the relics are not authentic.

This incomplete article outlines an experiment proposed to try to determine the direction(s) of ice drift in the Arctic based on Nansen's success. Note that Melville is a part of this experiment.

More About the Jeannette Expedition

Those interested in learning more about George Washington de Long and the Jeannette expedition may find the following interesting. These links will take you away from the PRISM site.

  • The Jeannette in Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia




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