The collection comprises of material relating to the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 (led by Bulkley)
Charles Bulkley collection
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- ReferenceGB 15 Charles Bulkley
- Dates of Creation1864-1867
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material (17 leaves)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Charles S Bulkley was a military engineer who served as chief of the United States Signal Service during the American Civil War. In 1864, he was sent to San Francisco as a company representative for the Western Union Telegraph Company to organize the US Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867. The aim of the expedition was to survey a route for, and to construct, a telegraph line between the United States and Europe by way of British and Russian America, Bering Strait, and Siberia. The expedition was organized on a quasi-military basis under the general command of Bulkley (who served as engineer-in-chief), and divided into four divisions. Bulkley was responsible for hiring a fleet of ships, directing the purchase of equipment and supplies, and recruiting technicians and engineers. In 1867, news that North Atlantic Telegraph Company had successfully laid a cable from Newfoundland to Ireland the previous year caused the Western Union Telegraph Company to abandon its enterprise. Nevertheless, the scientific and geographical results of the expedition, especially in Alaska, were of great value.
The collection is arranged chronologically
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland Garland Publishing, London (1994) and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and University of Alaska
Other Finding Aids
Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.
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