Harold King collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence to and by King regarding the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) and an account of polar manuscripts held in New Zealand.

Administrative / Biographical History

Harold (Harry) Godfrey Rudolf King was born in 1921. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force as a radio mechanic and an educational and vocational training instructor. By 1949, he had completed a degree in history at University College, London. Following training with the Library Association, he worked in the libraries of London University, the Institute of Historical Research and the Manchester Guardian before becoming librarian of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in 1955.

In 1959, his position as head of the library became a University of Cambridge post with dual responsibility for overseeing the library and information centre. In 1976, he helped to set up the Skellerup Antarctic Library at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. He co-edited SPRI's nineteen-volume library catalogue, published in 1976, and has edited numerous publications, including The Antarctic diary of Victor Campbell, South Pole Odyssey and The Arctic, a guide to literature of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. He retired from SPRI in 1983.

Published work, The wicked mate, the Antarctic diary of Victor Campbell edited by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King, Bluntisham Books and Erskine Press, Aldburgh, Norfolk (1988) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1910-1913], The Arctic edited by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King, Clio Press Ltd. Oxford (1989) SPRI Library Shelf 01(3), The Antarctic edited by Janice Meadows, William James Mills and Harold Godfrey Rudolf King, Clio Press, Oxford (1994) Shelf 01(7), South Pole Odyssey, selections from the Antarctic diaries of Edward Wilson edited by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King, Blandford Press Poole, Rigby Publishers Ltd. Adelaide (1982) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Wilson, E.A.], Polar pundit, reminiscences about Brian Birley Roberts, edited by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King and Ann Margaret Savours, Polar Publications Scott Polar Research Institute Cambridge (1995) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Roberts, B.], The Antarctic by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King, Blandford Press, London (1969) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(091)


The collection is arranged chronologically.

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 H.G.R. King and the Scott Polar Research Institute& by Constance Martin in Arctic (March 1992) volume 45 number 1 p93-95 and Polar pundit, reminiscences about Brian Birley Roberts, edited by Harold Godfrey Rudolf King and Ann Margaret Savours, Polar Publications Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge (1995) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Roberts, B.]

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.