Curzon, correspondence

Scope and Content

  • MS 3;D Letter to William Ellison-Macartney, 13 September 1911
  • MS 4;D Letters (10) to Kathleen Scott, 26 May 1912 to 3 November 1913, 11 leaves, holograph
  • MS 841/1/1-2;D Letter to Kathleen Scott, 17 April 1913 [Regarding publication of Scott's diary in The Strand] 1 leaf, holograph
  • MS 5;D Letters (2) to Robert Falcon Scott, 20 October 1911 and 26 September 1912 [These letters arrived in the Antarctic after the death of Scott] 3 leaves, holograph
  • MS 1537/2/30/7&9;D Letters (2) to Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, 12 March 1914, 29 July 1914 [Good wishes for Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916 and refers to Koenig claim for Trans Antarctic crossing]

Administrative / Biographical History

The correspondence relates to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton).

Scott's expedition was his second to the Antarctic continent. From a base at Cape Evans scientific programmes and exploration was carried out. A party led by Griffith Taylor spent three months exploring the western mountains and this work was continued after the departure of the polar party in 1911. A northern party led by Victor Campbell established a base at Cape Adare from where they conducted scientific programmes. After moving camp the party were forced to spend the winter of 1912 in ice caves before walking back to the Cape Evans camp. The first cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition, 90° South was made during the expedition. After successfully reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912 Scott and his companions (Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson) perished during the return journey.

Shackleton planed to cross the continent by way of the pole during his 1914-1916 expedition, however when the expedition ship Endurance was beset in the Weddell Sea this goal was abandoned. The ship drifted for ten months before being crushed in the pack ice and sinking on 27 October 1915. The entire company wintered on the ice before escaping in the lifeboats to Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands. Shackleton, Thomas Crean, Frank Worsley, Timothy McCarthy, Harold McNish and J Vincent then sailed 1450Km to South Georgia in the James Caird. Arriving at South Georgia, Shackleton, Crean and Worsley made the first major trek across the island to the whaling station at Stromness. The Elephant Island party were successfully rescued without any loss of life.



Alternative Form Available

MS 1537/2/30/7D Copies of these letters can be found among the Fisher papers at the Institute reference MS 1456/41 these copies were made by the Fishers in the course of their preparations for a biography of Shackleton.

Related Material

The Institute holds extensive archival collections for both Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, see also SPRI archival collections GB 015 British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 and GB 015 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916.