Frederick Jackson collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Preliminary Exploring Expedition, 1893-1894 (led by Jackson) to the Russian Arctic (Ostrov Vaygach) and the British Exploring Expedition [Jackson Harmsworth] 1894-1897 (led by Jackson) to the Russian Arctic (Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa). The collection also includes correspondence by Jackson

Administrative / Biographical History

Frederick George Jackson was born on 6 March 1860 at Coughton, near Alcester, Warwickshire. He was educated at Denstone College and studied for a brief period at Edinburgh University. In 1887, he sailed to the Greenland Sea on a six-month voyage in the sealer and whaler Eric. In 1893, he published an outline of his proposal for an Arctic expedition using Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa as a base in the Geographical Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. To test clothing, equipment and food in preparation for his exploring expedition during the winter of 1893, Jackson sledged overland from Ostrov Vaygach to the White Sea, later extending his journey into Lapland to study Lapp methods of travel. His narrative of this journey was published in 1895 under the title of The Great Frozen Land.

On his return, Jackson commanded the British Exploring Expedition (Jackson-Harmsworth Polar Expedition), 1894-1897, sponsored primarily by the newspaper proprietor Alfred Harmsworth. Sledging journeys were undertaken, and on 17 June 1896 near Cape Fora Jackson met Fridtjof Nansen leader of the Norwegian North Polar Expedition, 1893-1896. At the end of the expedition, Jackson had confirmed that Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa was an archipelago and not a larger landmass as some had supposed. He had mapped in outline most of the islands not covered in the surveys of Karl Weyprecht and Julius Payer and Benjamin Leigh Smith. In recognition of his services Jackson received a knighthood of the first class of the Norwegian Royal Order of St Olaf in 1898, and was awarded the gold medal of the Paris Geographical Society in 1899. His account of the expedition was published in 1899 under the title of A Thousand Days in the Arctic.

Commissioned in the Manchester Regiment, Jackson served with distinction during the Boer War in South Africa, rising to the rank of captain. He later transferred to the East Surrey Regiment, serving on the Western Front during the First World War. After the war, he travelled through central Africa with a shooting party in search of sport. Soon after his return to England, he was appointed a member of the international commission of enquiry into the existence of slavery in the Republic of Liberia. He died on 13 March 1938 in London.

Additional published work The lure of unknown land North Pole and Equator by Frederick George Jackson, G Bell and Sons Ltd. London (1935) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Jackson, F.G]


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and correspondence 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 'Frederick George Jackson 1860-1938' by A G E Jones in Musk-ox volume 20 1977 p50-56 and Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940 Oxford University Press London (1950) and Wikipedia

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