Leonid Breitfuss collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to both the Arctic and Antarctic

Administrative / Biographical History

Leonid L'vovich Breitfuss was born in 1864 in St. Petersburg, Russia, into a Russo-German family. He was educated at Berlin University, graduating with a doctorate in zoology. In 1898, he was appointed biologist and, from 1902, leader of the Russian Scientific Murman Expedition, 1898-1908, sponsored by the Russian government to conduct Hydrographic and biological (ichthyological) research in the Barents Sea and the Murman coast, with the ultimate objective of developing Russian fishing and sealing industries in this region.

After the expedition, Breitfuss worked for the Hydrographic Department of the Russian Navy. In 1914, he became a co-founder of the Polar Commission of the Academy of Sciences and was active in the organization of many polar expeditions, including the search expeditions for Umberto Nobile and Roald Amundsen. Breitfuss emigrated to Germany, working first at the Zoological Museum of Berlin University and later at the German Hydrographic Institute in Hamburg. He played a significant role in the foundation of the International Society for the Exploration of the Arctic by means of Aircraft (Aeroarctic), of which Fridtjof Nansen was president. Among his many publications is an authoritative review of Arctic exploration published in 1939. He died on 20 July 1950 at Bad Pyrmont in Germany. Much of his extensive library and archival papers were deposited in the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Published work Die Erschliessung des eurasiatischen Hohen Nordens. 30 Jahre eigener Arbeit an der wissenscahftlichen und kulturellen Erschliessung des Nordlichen Eismeeres, 1898-1928 [The development of the European High Arctic by Leonid L'vovich Breitfuss, Justus Perthes Gotha (1930) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Breitfuss, L.] Arktis. Der derzetige stand unserer kenntnisse ube die erforschung der Nordpolargebiete. Text zur historischen und physikalischen karte mit einem vorwort von Wilhelm Filchner by Leonid L'vovich Breitfuss, Andrews&Steiner, Sifton, Praed & Company Ltd. (1939) SPRI Library Shelf (#42;3):91(091)[pub.1939]


The collection is arranged in the order it has been deposited at the Institute

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 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 Nature volume 166 number 4219 1950 p423 SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Breitfuss] and Science and History

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

Geographical Names