Edward Adams collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1849 (leader Sir James Clark Ross) and the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1855 (leader Richard Collinson)

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Adams was born in 1824. He served as assistant surgeon in HMS Investigator on the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1848-1849 (leader Sir James Clark Ross) sent by the Admiralty to search for Sir John Franklin's lost expedition. The following year, Adams joined the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1855 (leader Richard Collinson), serving as surgeon in HMS Enterprise. He was a member of the party put ashore at Mikhailovskiy in October 1850 to investigate the rumour that survivors of the Franklin expedition had been sighted in the Yukon region of Alaska. After Lieutenant John James Barnard, the leader of the party, was murdered by Koyukon Indians in a surprise attack at Nulato on the Yukon, Adams rejoined HMS Enterprise at Port Clarence in July 1851, remaining within the Arctic for a further three years.

During his residence in Alaska, Adams assembled a wide variety of natural history notes and made observations on Indian ethnography. He died circa 1890.


The collection is split into two sub-fonds covering each expedition respectively.

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 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 Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills, San Diego and Oxford 2003 and Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland, Garland Publishing London (1994)

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.