John Walter Gregory collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence relating to the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

John Walter Gregory was born on 27 January 1864 in London. He was educated at Stepney Grammar School and the University of London. In 1887, he was appointed assistant in the Geological Department of the British Museum (Natural History), remaining there until 1900. In 1896, he was selected as geologist on the British Exploring Expedition (leader William Martin Conway), sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society to explore the interior of central Spitsbergen. Gregory was a member of the sledging party, which claimed the first crossing of the island of Spitsbergen in July 1896.

In 1900, Gregory accepted the post of director of scientific staff of the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), but resigned in 1901 after his role became subject to dispute between the Royal Geographical and Royal Societies. Instead, in 1900 he accepted the chair of geology and mineralogy at the University of Melbourne. In 1904, he was appointed professor of geology at Glasgow University, a post he held until his retirement in 1929. Between 1928 and 1930, he was president of the Geological Society. He drowned in the Urubamba River in Peru on 2 June 1932.

Published work The first crossing of Spitsbergen. Being an account of an inland journey of exploration and survey, with descriptions of several mountain ascents, of boat expeditions in Ice Fjord, of a voyage to North-East-Land, the seven islands, down Hinloopen Strait, nearly to Wiches Land, and into most of the fjords of Spitsbergen, and of an almost complete circumnavigation of the main island by William Martin Conway, J.W. Gregory, Aubyn Trevor-Battye and E. J. Garwood, J.M. Dent & Co. London (1897) SPRI Library Shelf (32)91(08)[1896 Conway] The nature and origin of fiords by J.W. Gregory, John Murray London (1913) SPRI Library Shelf 551.331.52


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

Access Information

By appointment.

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Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author signs the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to ' John Walter Gregory, 1864-1932', in Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society (1932) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Gregory] and Arctic exploration and development C 500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Anthony Holland, Garland Publishing Inc. New York (1994) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) (Cambridge University Press 1989) ISBN 0521309034, Garland Publishing, London 1994 ISBN number 0824076486

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.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

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Further accessions possible.