The collection comprises of material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, [Ross Sea Party] 1914-1917 (Captains Mackintosh and Stenhouse), the British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922 (led by Cope) and correspondence by Cope.
John Lachlan Cope collection
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- ReferenceGB 15 John Lachlan Cope
- Dates of Creation1919-1926
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material (Circa 15 leaves) and correspondence (38 leaves)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
John Lachlan Cope was born on 31 March 1893. He was educated at Tonbridge public school and studied medicine at Jesus College, Cambridge. Giving up his studies, he joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914-1917, as biologist and surgeon on board Aurora. This expedition was organized by Ernest Henry Shackleton to meet the Endurance Party intending to sledge across Antarctica from the Weddell Sea. Fast ice prevented Aurora from reaching Cape Royds, so the expedition landed at Cape Evans where in May 1915 the ship was driven from her moorings by a blizzard, making return impossible. With minimal supplies, Cope and nine companions wintered at Cape Evans and laid depots southwards across the Ross Ice Shelf as far as Mount Hope. The seven survivors of the shore party were eventually rescued on 10 January 1917.
Returning to Britain, Cope served in the Royal Navy for the remainder of the First World War. He then organized and led the British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922, which originally promised opportunities for flight on the Antarctic Peninsula. Cope and his second-in-command, George Hubert Wilkins, joined Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe and Maxime Charles Lester who had travelled south to Deception Island ahead of them. The party transferred to Andvord Bay, on the Danco Coast of Graham Land where they intended to set up a base. However, insufficient financial support curtailed the expedition, and Cope and Wilkins withdrew, leaving with the whalers. Cope returned to Britain, resumed his medical studies and qualified as a doctor in 1933. He became a General Practitioner in London and in Birmingham. He died in November 1947.
The collection is split into three sub-fonds covering expedition material and correspondence respectively.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Shackleton's Forgotten Argonauts by Leonard Bickel, Macmillan Company of Australia, Melbourne (1982) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1914-1917] and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) 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
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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