Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Dame Janet to or regarding the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Janet Stancomb-Wills was the adopted daughter and niece by marriage of Sir William Henry Wills, first Baron Winterstoke. In 1912, she was appointed president of the Royal West of England Academy and the following year was the first woman to be elected town councillor for Ramsgate, serving as mayor between 1923 and 1924. A generous benefactor, she helped to finance the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton). A grateful Shackleton named a glacier for her as well as one of the three boats in which his party reached Elephant Island. Stancomb-Wills was interested in education, social issues and art, serving on many committees in Ramsgate. In 1927, she was appointed Justice of the Peace for Kent. She was created a dame in 1918 and she died on 22 August 1932.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 and Who was who, 1929-1940, Adam & Charles Black, London (1947)

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.