Frank Bullen collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Bullen regarding the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

Frank Thomas Bullen was born in London in 1857. From the age of nine he lived on the streets, and in 1869, joined the Merchant Navy as cabin boy. Serving in over twenty-five ships, he rose to able seaman, and passed the examinations for second mate and first mate. In 1882, Bullen became a clerk in the Meteorological Office, augmenting his income by running simultaneously a picture-framing business and haberdashery shop. Overwork led to voluntary bankruptcy in the mid-1890s. However, clerical work had enabled him to develop abilities as a writer as well as his theoretical understanding of marine science. From 1895, he began regular contributions to popular journals, and in 1899, left the Meteorological Office after accepting an appointment as columnist on the Morning Leader. He also began to undertake lecture tours in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and North America. The first of his thirty-six books, The Cruise of the Cachalot (1898), established his international reputation. He died in 1915 during a visit to Madeira.

Published work, The cruise of the Cachalot, round the world after sperm whales by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1899) SPRI Library Shelf 639.245.1, Deep sea plunderings, a collection of stories of the sea by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1901) SPRI Library Shelf 639.245.1


The correspondence 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 The dictionary of national biography, missing persons, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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.