Sir Joseph Kinsey collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Kinsey primarily regarding the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) with some mention of the British Relief Expeditions, 1902-1903 and 1903-1904 (Sent to the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904) and the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1912 (leader Roald Amundsen).

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph James Kinsey was born in Kent, England in 1852. He taught in England before emigrating in 1880 to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he founded the shipping firm of Kinsey and Company. Between 1, he then became commissioner for Canterbury at the South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin between 1889 and 1890, after which he was Belgian Consul in 1898.

Deeply interested in Antarctic exploration, he acted as New Zealand agent for a number of expeditions to the Antarctic between 1903 and 1914, including the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) and the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton). Kinsey was knighted in 1917. He died in 1936.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

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 signs the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to National Library of New Zealand and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034

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.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library. This material includes photographs of Kinsey with members of Antarctic expeditions, taken in New Zealand. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.