Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-78dcdb465f-xl52z Total loading time: 0.344 Render date: 2021-04-18T02:22:30.324Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Article contents

Frederick Schwatka and the search for the Franklin expedition records, 1878–1880

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2008

Ronald Savitt
Affiliation:
2702 NE Bryce Street, Portland, Oregon 97212, USA

Abstract

Frederick Gustavus Schwatka was one of America's most important Arctic explorers. While honoured in his time, he is only a footnote in the search for Sir John Franklin. He commanded, in 1878–1880, an expedition of the American Geographical Society of New York which had the aim of retrieving records from King William Island. Although none were found, he did discover a number of expedition relics and remains. His extensive sledge journey during this expedition was one of the longest recorded by a European-North American expedition, over 5232 km (3,251 statute miles). Moreover it was conducted under some of the coldest conditions ever endured in polar exploration. Schwatka's party included three Europeans, William H. Gilder, a journalist from The New York Herald, Henry Klutschak, a naturalist, and Frank E. Melms, an experienced seaman, and ‘Eskimo Joe’ Ebierbing, an Inuit who had served on previous expeditions in search of Franklin. ‘Schwatka's search’, as it was known, concluded efforts to discover the fate of the Franklin expedition in the nineteenth century. It laid the groundwork for the important expeditions in the twentieth century that revealed new information concerning the fate of Franklin's men. Schwatka's expedition was without death or deprivation. Much of his success was based on a clearly defined plan and on adopting Inuit practices including living off the land, lessons he learned from his experiences with American Indians as part of his military assignments. Born in Illinois, he was educated at West Point, the United States Military Academy, acquitted himself well in the Indian Wars and then went on to qualify for the bar and secured a medical degree during his military service. He died an early and unfortunate death at the age of 43. The research reported in this article provides an understanding of the factors that shaped Schwatka and the skills that he used in this expedition.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Ambrose, S.E. 1996. Undaunted courage. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Anon. (Anonymous). 1897. The search for Franklin. Edinburgh: T. Nelson and Sons.Google Scholar
Barr, W. 1986. William Robert Hobson (1831–1880). Arctic 39 (2): 184185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barr, W. 1987. Introduction. In: Klutschak, H.Overland to Starvation Cove (translator and editor W. Barr). Toronto: University of Toronto Press: viixxxi, 206–219.Google Scholar
Barr, W. 1991. Aleksandr Lavrent'yevich Chekansoviskiy, Pioneer Geologist and explorer of North Central Siberia, 1873–76. Earth Sciences History 10: 106129.Google Scholar
Barr, W. 1993. The contribution of Alexander von Middendorff to the exploration of the Taymyr Peninsula in 1843. Polar Geography and Geology 17 (3): 167184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barr, W. (editor). 1999. Searching for Franklin: the land Arctic searching expedition, James Anderson's and James Stewart's expedition via the Back River, 1855. London: Hakluyt Society (Third series 1).Google Scholar
Barry, T.F. 1880. Thomas F. Barry's statement (taken down as given by him in reply to questions put by the President of the Society). In: Daly C.P. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12 (Appendix 1): 275–279.Google Scholar
Beattie, O. 1983. A report on the newly discovered human remains from the last Sir John Franklin Expedition. The Musk-ox, 33 (Winter): 6877.Google Scholar
Beattie, O. 1987. Afterword. In: Klutschak, H.Overland to Starvation Cove (translator and editor W. Barr). Toronto: University of Toronto Press: 221224.Google Scholar
Beattie, O., and Geiger, J.. 1987. Frozen in time. Vancouver: Greystone Books.Google Scholar
Berton, P. 2000. The Arctic grail. New York: The Lions Press.Google Scholar
Burwash, L.T. 1930. The Franklin search. Canadian Geographical Journal 1 (1): 587603.Google Scholar
Cullum, G.W. 1891. Biographical register of the officers and graduates of the U. S. Military Academy. (Vol. III: Nos. 2001 to 3384). Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.Google Scholar
Cyriax, R.J. 1939. Sir John Franklin's last Arctic expedition. London: Methuen and Co.Google Scholar
Daly, C.P. 1877. English Arctic expeditions. North American Review CXXIV (March): 229246.Google Scholar
Daly, C.P. 1880a. Annual address of Chief Justice Daly. Geographical work of the world in 1878 and 1879. Journal of the American Geographical Society 12: 1107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Daly, C.P. 1880b. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12 (1880): 237296.Google Scholar
De Costa, B.F. 1880. Arctic exploration. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12: 158192. URL: http://www.biography.ca/EN/CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ebierbing, J. 1880. Joseph Ebering's (Esquimaux Joe) Statement (made to the President of the Society). In: Daly C.P. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12 (Appendix 2): 279281 (Spelling in original, correct spelling is Ebierbing).Google Scholar
Finerty, J.F. 1890. War-path and bivouac, or the conquest of the Sioux. Chicago: Donohue Brothers.Google Scholar
Fuchs, V. 1963. The human element in exploration. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 1:18.Google Scholar
Gilder, W.H. 1881a. Among the Esquimaux with Schwatka. Scribner's Monthly XXII (1): 7687.Google Scholar
Gilder, W.H. 1881b. Schwatka's search. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
Gilder, W.H. 1883. Ice-Pack and tundra. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington.Google Scholar
Goetzmann, W.H. 1986. New lands, new men. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
Goetzmann, W.H. 2000. Exploration and empire. Austin: Texas State Historical Association.Google Scholar
Greely, A.W. 1906. A handbook of polar discoveries. Boston: Little, Brown and Company (3rd edition).Google Scholar
Hall, C.F. 1879. Narrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall (Editor Nourse, J.E.). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
Hall, C.F. 1970. Life with the Esquimaux: the narrative of Captain Charles Francis Hall, of the whaling barque ‘George Henry’ from the 29th May 1860 to the 13th September 1862. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle, Co, Publishers.Google Scholar
Hayes, I.I. 1880. Remarks of Isaac I. Hayes, In: Daly C.P. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12: 258273.Google Scholar
Jackson, F.G. 1898. Three year's exploration in Franz-Josef Land. Geographical Journal 11 (2): 113138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, R.E. 1968. Doctors afield, Frederick Schwatka: cavalry officer, explorer, physician. New England Journal of Medicine 4 (278): 3135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, R.E., Johnson, M.H., Jeanes, H.S., and Deaver, S.M.. 1984. Schwatka. Montpelier: Horn of the Moon Enterprises.Google Scholar
Karpoff, J.M. 2001. Public versus initiatives in Arctic exploration: the effects of incentives and organizational structure. Journal of Political Economy 109 (1): 3887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keenleyside, A., Bertulli, M., and Fricke, H.C.. 1997. The final days of the Franklin expedition: new skeletal evidence. Arctic 50 (1): 3646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klutschak, H. 1881. Als Eskimo unter den Eskimos. Leipzig: Hartleben.Google Scholar
Klutschak, H. 1987. Overland to Starvation Cove (translator and editor Barr, W.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Lentz, J.W. 2003. The Fox expedition in search of Franklin: A documentary trail. Arctic 56 (2): 175184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loomis, C. 1972. Weird and tragic shores: the story of Charles Francis Hall, explorer. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Loomis, C. 1986. Ebierbing (ca.1837–ca.1881). Arctic 39 (2): 186187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McClintock, F.L. 1876. Arctic sledge-travelling. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society 19 (7): 464479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McClintock, F.L. 1877. Letter to the Admiralty, 19 December 1877. In: Daly, C.P. 1880b. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12 (Appendix 3): 282283.Google Scholar
McClintock, F.L. 1908. The Voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic seas. A narrative of the discovery of Sir John Franklin and his companions. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
McClintock, F.L. 1998. The Voyage of the ‘Fox’. Berlin: Könemann.Google Scholar
Markham, C.R. 1880. Expedition of Lieutenant F. Schwatka to King William Land. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society 2 (11): 657662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Markham, C.R. 1921. The lands of silence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Mills, W.J. 2003. Exploring polar frontiers. Santa Barbara: ABCClio.Google Scholar
Mirsky, J. 1970. To the Arctic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Mowat, F. 1989. Tundra. Salt Lake City: Gibb-Smith Publishers.Google Scholar
National Maritime Museum. 2000. Research guide Q3. Relics of Sir John Franklin's last expedition. Greenwich: National Maritime Museum. URL: http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebdoc.600/Google Scholar
Nourse, J.E. 1884. American explorations in the ice zones. Boston: D. Lothrop and Company.Google Scholar
Orwell, G. 1981. A collection of essays. New York: Harvest/HBJ.Google Scholar
Peary, R.E. 1898. Northward over the great ice. Vol. I. London: Methuen and Co.Google Scholar
Pearson, M. 1995. Sledges and sledging in polar regions. Polar Record 31 (176): 324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Phinney, S.D. 2004. Ketogenic diets and physical performance. Nutrition and Metabolism 1 (2): 17.Google ScholarPubMed
Pinther, M. 2003. Charles Patrick Daly 1816–1895. Ubique XXIII (2): 16.Google Scholar
Rae, J. 1854a. The lost Arctic voyagers. Household Words 10 (248): 433437.Google Scholar
Rae, J. 1854b. Dr. Rae's report. Household Words 10 (249): 457459.Google Scholar
Rae, J. 1877. Letter to the Admiralty, 15 December 1877. In: Daly C.P. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12 (Appendix 4): 284288.Google Scholar
Riffenburgh, B. 1993. The myth of the explorer. New York: Bellhaven Press.Google Scholar
Ross, W.G. 2000. The type and number of expeditions in the Franklin Search 1847–1859. Arctic 55 (1): 5769.Google Scholar
Ross, W.G. 2004. The admiralty and the Franklin search. Polar Record 40 (215): 289301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Savitt, R. 2004. Antarctic sledging preparations and tacit knowledge. Polar Record 40 (213): 153165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Savitt, R., and Lüdecke, C. 2007. Legacies of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, 1894–1897. Polar Record 43 (224): 5566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Savitt, R. 2007. F.G. Schwatka's headstone. Polar Record 43 (226): 271272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Savours, A. 1999. The search for the northwest passage. New York: St. Martins Press.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1879. Letter of Frederick Schwatka, U. S. Army, commanding Franklin search party, dated 31 March 1879. In: Daly, C. P. 1880a. Annual address of Chief Justice Daly. Geographical work of the world in 1878 and 1879. Journal of the American Geographical Society 12: 1107.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1880. Address of Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka. In: Daly, C.P. Arctic meeting at Chickering Hall, 28 October 1880. Reception of Lieut. Frederick Schwatka and his associates of the Franklin search party of 1878, 1879, and 1880. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 12: 246258.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1883a. A musk-ox hunt. The Century 26 (5): 671680.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1883b. The igloo of the Inuit. Science II (32): 347349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1884a. An Arctic vessel and her equipment. Science III (64): 505511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1884b. The implements of the igloo. Science IV (77): 8185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1885a. Report of a military reconnaissance in Alaska made in 1883. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1885b. Nimrod in the north or hunting and fishing adventures in Arctic regions. New York: Cassell and Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1893. In the land of cave and cliff dwellers (Editor Schwatka, Mrs. Ada). New York: Cassell and Co.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1886. The children of the cold. New York: Cassell and Co.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1887. Among the Apaches. The Century 34 (1): 4153.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1889. The next polar expeditiion. The North American Review 48: 151160.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1890. Letter to W.H. Gilder, Chicago, Illinois. 4 April 1890. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Library, Rauner Collection Stef. MSS-45(1): 16.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1890–1898. The sun dance of the Sioux. Century Magazine 39: 753759.Google Scholar
Schwatka, F.G. 1965. The long Arctic search (Editor Stackpole, E.A.). Mystic: The Marine Historical Association.Google Scholar
Solomon, S. 2001. The coldest march. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Stackpole, E.A. 1965. In: Schwatka, F.The long Arctic search (editor E.A. Stackpole). Mystic: The Marine Historical Association: 1115, 114117.Google Scholar
Stefansson, V. 1954. Arctic controversy: the letters of John Rae. Geographical Journal 120 (4): 486493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stefansson, V. 1964. Discovery. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Stegner, W. 1953. Beyond the hundredth meridian. New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
Stewart, R.W. 2005. American military history (vol 1). Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army.Google Scholar
Stone, I.R. 1987. ‘The contents of the kettles’: Charles Dickens, John Rae and cannibalism in the 1845 Franklin Expedition. The Dickensian 83 (411): 716.Google Scholar
Tammiksaar, E., and Stone, I.R. 2007. Alexander von Middendorff and his expedition to Siberia (1842–1845). Polar Record 43 (226): 193216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tyson, G.E. 2000. Arctic experiences. New York: Cooper Press.Google Scholar
Vaughan, R. 1994. The Arctic: a history. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing.Google Scholar
Wallace, H.N. 1980. The navy, the company, and Richard King. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.Google Scholar
Wright, J.K. 1952. British geography and the American Geographical Society. Geographical Journal 118 (2): 153167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 85 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Frederick Schwatka and the search for the Franklin expedition records, 1878–1880
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Frederick Schwatka and the search for the Franklin expedition records, 1878–1880
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Frederick Schwatka and the search for the Franklin expedition records, 1878–1880
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *