The collection comprises of correspondence by Bannister to Spencer Fullerton Baird, regarding the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 (leader Robert Kennicott).
Henry Bannister collection
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 Henry Bannister
- Dates of Creation1865-1866
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical DescriptionCorrespondence (7 leaves)
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Henry Martyn Bannister was born in 1844 in America. He was educated at Northwestern University in Illinois, where he graduated in 1863. Bannister worked with Robert Kennicott on the newly established Natural History Museum of Northwestern University before joining the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867 (leader Robert Kennicott), as meteorologist. The expedition was sent by the Western Union Telegraph Company to survey a route for, and to construct, a telegraph line through Alaska by way of Yukon River and Seward Peninsula, as part of plans to establish a telegraph link between America and Europe by way of Bering Strait. Despite the death of Robert Kennicott in May 1866 and the failure of its main objective, the expedition conducted the first systematic scientific exploration of interior Alaska, and made the most comprehensive survey of the Yukon River to that date.
In later years, Bannister worked for the Illinois Geological Survey and studied medicine at the National Medical College in Washington DC. He practised medicine in Chicago for many years, publishing widely in the area of mental illness and nervous disorders. He died in 1920.
The correspondence to Baird is arranged chronologically.
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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 North-western library 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.
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