Monday, March 9, 2015

Franklin Expedition Links

A list of online resources, especially books and papers, that would be useful to anyone who is starting to build their own Franklin library.

Books available online:

The Voyage of the Fox, by Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, 1860
McClintock's expedition found the boat in Erebus Bay and the Victory Point note.

Schwatka's search, by William Henry Gilder, New York, 1881
Schwatka's expedition visited Starvation Cove, searched King William Island and interviewed an Inuit man who had been on board HMS Erebus when she was found West of Adelaide peninsula.

The Search For Franklin, A narrative of the American expedition under lieutenant Schwatka. 1899
Schwatka's account of his search expedition.

Narrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall, by Nourse, Washington, 1879
C. F. Hall's search for Franklin and life with the Inuit. Hall eventually reached the southeast corner of King William Island.

Lieut. John Irving, R.N., of H.M.S. "Terror," in Sir John Franklin's last expedition to the Arctic regions :a memorial sketch with letters. Edinburgh : D. Douglas, 1881. Includes letters written by Lt. Irving sent back from Greenland in 1845. Two sketches drawn by Irving are included. (Thanks to Russell Potter for finding this copy).

The carreer, last voyage and fate, of Captain Sir John Franklin, by Sherard Osborn, London 1860

Famous voyagers and explorers, by Sarah Knowles Bolton, 1893

Articles from past issues of The Beaver:

Sir John Franklin's Last Voyage, by William Gibson, June 1937. Gibson found 7 skulls located on an islet in Douglas Bay (South shore of KWI) along with fragments of oak and pine.

Footnotes to the Franklin Search, Spring 1955. Information and drawings of Halkett inflatable boats. A photograph of Dr John Rae's own Halkett boat is shown. The Inuit described an inflatable Halkett boat to Hall that may have been used by Franklin survivors.

Rae's Franklin Relics, by Robert Kerr, March 1954. A note on artifacts recovered by Dr Rae.

A Further Clue in the Franklin Mystery, by W. G. McKenzie, 1969. Land and sea search of O'Reilly Island.

Articles from Arctic:

The “Boat Place” Burial: New Skeletal Evidence from the 1845 Franklin Expedition (pdf file), Excavation of the remains found at McClintock's Boat Place. "In 2013, a burial feature was excavated at NgLj-3, a Franklin expedition archaeological site on the Erebus Bay coast of King William Island. The feature contained 72 human bones representing a minimum of three individuals" Published 2015.

Notes on Franklin relics (pdf), Learnmonth L. A., Arctic, 1948. This article discusses the discovery of Franklin remains found northwest of Starvation Cove.

The final days of the Franklin expedition : new skeletal evidence (pdf file), Keenleyside, Bertulli and Fricke, 1997. Examination of approximately 400 human bone fragments found in Erebus Bay, King William Island. These remains came from 11 individuals. Curiously one of these is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years old at the time of death. This reports provides definitive evidence of cannibalism amoung Franklin survivors.

The route of Sir John Franklin's third Arctic expedition : an evaluation and test of an alternative hypothesis (pdf file), Hickey, Savelle and Hobson, 1993. An examination of possible routes taken by the Erebus and Terror during the summer of 1846. Notably down McClintock Channel.

Papers From Other Sources:

Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition (pdf file), by William Battersby, Journal of the Hakluyt Society, September 2008. This paper examines the fresh water distillation systems of the Erebus and Terror as a potential source of Lead poisoning. (Other arctic expeditions carried tinned food supplies similar to those used by Franklin's men yet these expeditions did not seem to suffer any ill effects because of this).

Oldest Canned Food In The World? New Scientist, Dr. F. H. Banfield, May 5, 1960, page 1138. Three historic tins of preserved food are opened, examined and eventually tasted. This includes a 7-pound tin of veal manufactured in 1823 for Parry's expedition. Data on lead and metal content is included.


Erebus & Terror Files, by Peter Carney. Original research on the details of the ships themselves and other issues such as lead poisoning.

The Fate of Franklin, Russell Potter's extensive website about the Franklin Expedition. The website includes the results of recent searches. Many more interesting links can be found at this website. I have chosen not to repeat them here. Russell appeared in PBS' 2004 Nova episode Arctic Passage.

Visions of the North, Russell Potter's blog site about the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin and other arctic topics. Russell has published a number of very interesting entries on this website. A number of these entries, such as The Mystery of the 'Peglar' Papers, contain rarely seen information.


  1. Thank you for all of those links. There really is a sense of a renaissance in Franklin research and writing, especially with online resources.

    You may want to gander my own brief list of links and essential reading at my website Franklin's Ghost which I just started up.


  2. Hi Ted,

    I have looked at your list and book marked the web site. Thanks. I do not have many of the newer Franklin related books. My own small collection was built by taking the bibliography from David Woodman's first book and trying to track down all of his sources which are quite extensive.

    Two of the sources referenced by Woodman are Nourse's book about Hall and Gibson's article from the 1930s. They are both available online for free now and listed above.

  3. Greetings Chris!
    It's a complete success that we can get the masterpieces of Sir John Franklin on the net, this is as great as getting viagra online . I love internet.

  4. Hello from Canmore Alberta! Great blog. Many thanks for the extensive list. Please check out my blog about Franklin at Fast or Fable: Was Grandpa a deserter of Sir John Franklin?
    I'd like to reblog your entry once I figure out how to it to Wordpress? all the bet, Janet McLeod

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