James Anderson collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Anderson to Jane, Lady Franklin regarding the British Franklin Search Expedition [Hudson's Bay Co.] 1855 (led by Anderson).

Administrative / Biographical History

James Anderson was born on 15 January 1812 in Calcutta, India. In 1831, he left Britain to join the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice, later serving as a chief factor in charge of the Mackenzie River District between 1851 and 1855. In 1855, he was invited to lead the British Franklin Search Expedition [Hudson's Bay Company], organized by the company on receipt of John Rae's report of his discovery of Franklin relics in 1854. Accompanied by James Green Stewart, Anderson canoed to the mouth of Back River and searched Montreal Island, reaching Maconochie Island before turning back. Due to the poor weather conditions, unsound canoes and lack of an interpreter, the expedition added little to Rae's findings. After the expedition, Anderson resumed his post at the Hudson's Bay Company, retiring to Ontario in 1864. He died on 16 October 1867.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

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 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 'James Anderson (1812-1867)' by C Stuart Mackinnon in Arctic volume 38 number 1 March 1985 p72-73 and 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

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.