Georges Lecointe collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Lecointe to the polar explorers William Speirs Bruce and Robert Falcon Scott.

Administrative / Biographical History

Georges Lecointe was born in 1869. A Belgian national, he served on the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, 1897-1899 (leader Adrien Victor Joseph de Gerlache de Gomery), as Hydrographic officer and second-in-command of the expedition ship Belgica. Leaving Ostend in August 1897, Belgica sailed to Brazil and Tierra del Fuego before continuing to the South Shetland Islands. From there, the ship sailed south surveying what is now known as the Gerlache Strait, before passing into the open sea towards the Antarctic circle. In March 1898, the ship was beset by pack ice, drifting south of Peter I y for over 12 months. Lecointe tracked the vessel's movements by astronomical observations during the night. The expedition became the first to winter south of the Antarctic Circle. Belgica was released from the ice in March 1899 and returned home.

In 1906, Lecointe convened the Congres International des Regions Polaires at Mons in Belgium, where the Commission Polaire Internationale was formed. There were further meetings in 1908 and 1913 before the Commission was finally dissolved in 1915. He died in 1929.

Published work Au pays des manchots. Recit du voyage de la Belgica (French) by Georges Lecointe, J. Lebeue et Cie Bruxelles (1911) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1897-1899] Commission Polaire Internationale, session de 1908, proces-verbaux des sances, edited by Georges Lecointe, Hayez Bruxelles (1908) SPRI Library Shelf 061.3[1908 International Polar Commission]


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 and 70 South and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)[pub.2002]

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.

Personal Names