LeBourdais, papers

Scope and Content

  • MS 1041/1/1-2;D Correspondence with Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1927 to 1962 [Regarding biography] circa 320 leaves, mainly typescript
  • MS 1041/2/1-2;D Correspondence with friends of Stefansson, 1927 to 1963 [Regarding biography] circa 350 leaves, holograph and typescript
  • MS 1041/3;D Correspondence with publishers, 1929-1964 [Regarding Stefansson biography] circa 75 leaves, mainly typescript
  • MS 1041/4;D Miscellaneous draft chapters, 1929 to 1962 [Includes fragments of first unpublished biography, 1930] circa 250 leaves, typescript
  • MS 1041/5;D Miscellaneous notes, undated [For biography] circa 50 leaves, holograph and typescript
  • MS 1041/6;D Biographical sketches (2) of George Hubert Wilkins, undated, 19 leaves, holograph and typescript

Administrative / Biographical History

Vilhjalmur Stefansson was born on 3 November 1879 in Manitoba, Canada, to Icelandic parents, who moved the family to North Dakota in 1881. In 1906, Stefansson was invited to conduct a study of the Eskimo of the lower Mackenzie River on the United States Anthropological Expedition, 1906-1907, giving him his introduction to the people whose customs and way of life were to become a major study Stefansson returned north with Rudolph Martin Anderson on the United States Canadian Scientific Expedition (Stefansson-Anderson Arctic expedition), 1908-1912, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and the Geological Survey of Canada to study the Eskimos and natural history of Coronation Gulf, Victoria Island, and Banks Island Stefansson led the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918, organized to carry out a wide variety of geographical exploration and scientific work in the western Canadian Arctic He died on 26 August 1962 in Hanover, New Hampshire

The papers also contain material on the polar explorer George Wilkins (1888-1958). Wilkins was born in Australia on 31 October 1888. In 1913, he joined Vilhjalmur Stefansson's expedition to the Canadian Arctic spending three years in the field as photographer and correspondent for the London Times. Wilkins joined the British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-1922 (leader John Lachlan Cope), which initially promised opportunities for flight and aerial photography in the Antarctic Peninsula. However, insufficient finance curtailed the expedition, and Wilkins and Cope withdrew. Homeward bound in Montevideo, he encountered Sir Ernest Shackleton, who invited him to join his Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922, as naturalist and photographer on board the expedition ship Quest.


As deposited

Related Material

The Institute holds archival collections for Stefansson and Wilkins


Stefansson ambassador of the north (Montreal, 1963)