Edward Moss collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Moss to his wife relating to the early stages of the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares)

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Lawton Moss was born in 1843. He was educated at the Royal College of Science in Dublin and studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, graduating MD from St. Andrew's in 1862. In 1864, he became a surgeon with the Royal Navy, later taking charge of the Royal Naval Hospital at Esquimalt on Vancouver Island between 1872 and 1874. He was appointed surgeon and artist in HMS Alert on the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares), sent by the Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole by way of Smith Sound and to explore the coasts of Greenland and adjacent lands. Although the attempt to reach the North Pole was unsuccessful, the expedition made some geographical discoveries and returned with a large quantity of scientific data. He died in 1880.

Published work Shores of the polar sea, a narrative of the Arctic expedition of 1875-1876. Illustrated by sixteen chromo-lithographs and numerous engravings made on the spot by the author by Edward Lawton Moss, Marcus Ward & Co. London (1878)


The correspondence is arranged chronologically

Conditions Governing Access

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 British polar exploration and research a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A L Myres, Savannah Publications London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2 and The Graphic volume 11 number 287 May 1875 p512 SPRI Library Shelf Folio (41)91(08)[1875-1876]

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