Oriana Wilson collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Oriana Wilson, wife of Antarctic explorer Edward Adrian Wilson (1872-1912). The letters deal mainly with the two Antarctic Expeditions her husband was part of, the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 and the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (both led by Robert Falcon Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

Oriana Wilson (nee Souper) was the eldest child of the Reverend F.A. Souper. She met Edward Adrian Wilson in 1897 and married him on 16 July 1901, less than a month before his departure to the Antarctic on the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). She travelled to New Zealand with her husband after he was selected for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (again led by Scott). Returning again to New Zealand in 1912 to greet the polar party, she received the news of her husband's death. (He died with Scott and Henry Robinson Bowers on the return journey from the South Pole in late March 1912).

During the First World War, she worked for the New Zealand Red Cross and was awarded a CBE for her services. She died on 25 April 1945, bequeathing her husband's watercolours and sketchbooks of Antarctic landscapes to the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge.


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 'Mrs E.A. Wilson, CBE' by George Seaver in The Polar Record, (July 1945) volume 4 number 30 and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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.

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