Sophia Cracroft collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of journals correspondence and papers by Sophia Cracroft. Much of the collection relates to the search for the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (led by Sophia's uncle Sir John Franklin. Other parts of the collection relate to the travels Sophia undertook with Sir John's wife Jane, Lady Franklin.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sophia (Sophy) Cracroft was born in 1816, the eldest daughter of Isabella Franklin and Thomas Cracroft and niece of the Arctic explorer, John Franklin. In 1836, she accompanied John Franklin and his second wife, Jane, to Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania] after Franklin had accepted the post of lieutenant governor, later returning to Britain in 1844. After the death of John Franklin on the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848, Sophia continued to accompany Jane Franklin on her travels, visiting Alaska, the United States, Hawaii, Canada, South America, China, Japan, India and Europe. She died on 20 June 1892.


The collection is split into three sub-fonds comprising of journals, correspondence and papers respectively

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


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 has signed the item.

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 Lady Franklin visits Sitka, Alaska, 1870; the journal of Sophia Cracroft, Sir John Franklin's niece edited by Robert Neil DeArmond, Alaska Historical Society Anchorage (1981) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Franklin, Jane] and 'Death of Miss Cracroft' by (Sir) George H Richards in Royal Geographical Society Proceedings volume 14 1892 p.553-554

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.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible