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Distributed for The Grolier Club

Adventures in Polar Reading

The Book Cultures of High Latitudes

With Contributions by Deirdre C. Stam
Borrowing from his naval experience and his expertise as a historian, David Stam performed extensive archival and secondary research for this study of the printed needs of several polar expeditions, including those of Adolphus Greely in the International Polar Year 1881–83 in northernmost Canada. Stam analyzes shipboard- and expedition-based periodicals throughout the so-called Heroic Age of exploration (ca. 1880–1921), as well as the enduring books of Ernest Shackleton’s legendary journey aboard the Endurance. In parallel, he examines the primarily religious literature distributed as Loan Libraries of the American Seamen’s Friend Society, including a description of the three libraries assembled by Richard Evelyn Byrd for the successive bases at Little America (1929–41). Stam concludes with suggestions for further research.

256 pages | 12 figures, 12 halftones and maps | 7 x 9 1/2

History: Discoveries and Exploration

Library Science and Publishing: Library Science

Reference and Bibliography

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"Stam is a very lively writer, and what could have been a forced march through a topic as potentially barren as the pack ice proves to be quite fertile, providing polar history geeks with an unexpectedly fascinating examination of an aspect of shipboard life that has received insufficient attention.”

David James | Anchorage Daily News

“No collection of Arctic or Antarctic books worth its salt—or, perhaps I should say, worth its ice—should be without it."

Arctic Book Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Chapter One, Adventures in Polar Writing: The Evolution of This Book
Chapter Two, “Silent Friends”: Books and Reading on Polar Expeditions
(David H. Stam and Deirdre C. Stam)
Chapter Three,
Libraries on Polar Expeditions
Chapter Four,
Arctic Survivals: The Restoration of Records Recovered from
Lost Polar Expeditions (John F. Dean and David H. Stam)
Chapter Five,
Congering the Past:
The Books of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1877–1965)
Chapter Six,
Bending Time: The Function of Periodicals in Nineteenth-Century
Polar Naval Expeditions (David H. Stam and Deirdre C. Stam)
Chapter Seven,
New York Times Online: An Historical Experiment
Chapter Eight,
The Lord’s Librarians: The American Seamen’s Friend Society
and Their Loan Libraries, 1837–1967: An Historical Excursion
Chapter Nine,
Byrd’s Books: The Antarctic Libraries
of Little America, 1928–1941
Chapter Ten,
The Enduring Books of Shackleton’s Endurance:
A Polar Reading Community at Sea
Chapter Eleven,
Quo Vadis? What’s Next?
Coda: The Power of Print
Expedition Periodicals: A Chronological List
The American Seamen’s Friend Society Loan Libraries
Books for the Three Byrd Expeditions
Books in Shackleton’s Cabin aboard Endurance

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