Letter of Edward A. Wilson (1872-1912)

Scope and Content

Letter written from the Station Hotel, Perth, on 1 October 1909, to Messrs. Oliver and Boyd, publishers in Edinburgh, thanking them for their good wishes to Scott's South Polar Expedition and for allowing postponement of the '400 bird pictures until my return'. Also contains the information that he is to meet Captain Barrett Hamilton in London, and that he will be returning to Westal, Cheltenham, in a week.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Adrian Wilson (Wilson of the Antarctic) was born in Cheltenham on 23 July 1872. He was educated at Cheltenham College, and studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and at St. George's Hospital, London. Dr. Wilson was an accomplished self-taught artist and field naturalist. Although he had contracted tuberculosis during his work in the slums of London, he was appointed as the Assistant Surgeon and Vertebrate Zoologist to the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904) aboard 'Discovery', under Commander Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912). On the return of the Expedition he was appointed Field Observer to the Grouse Disease Inquiry. He also illustrated wildlife books. In 1910 Wilson returned to the Antarctic with Captain Scott aboard the vessel 'Terra Nova' as Chief of the Scientific Staff. The Expedition reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, but only after the Norwegian Expedition under Roald Amundsen had gotten there first. Edward Adrian Wilson BA, MB (Cantab.), FZS died on the Great Ice Barrier around 29 March 1912 along with his fellow explorers on the return journey from the Pole.

Access Information

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Acquisition Information

Acquired in August 1993, Accession no: E93.72.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Edward Wilson of the Antarctic. Full-text [online]. http://www.edwardawilson.com/  [Accessed 29 March 2006].

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Related Material

Letter of Edward A. Wilson to Sir A. Geikie from McMurdo Sound, 31 October 1911, in Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections, the 'Papers and Correspondence of Sir Archibald Geikie (1835-1924)' at Gen.526.