Robert Selbie Clark collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, [Weddell Sea Party] 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton) and the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), correspondence and biographical material.

The collection also contains correspondence sent to Clark regarding the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton)

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Selbie Clark was born in Aberdeen in 1882. He was educated at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with an MA in 1908, a BSc. in 1911 and a DSc. in 1925. In 1911, he was appointed zoologist at the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory in Edinburgh, working with William Speirs Bruce on biological material from the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904. In 1913, he was appointed naturalist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the following year joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), as biologist in Endurance. The marine collections and notes he amassed were lost after Endurance was crushed in the Weddell Sea.

During the First World War, Clark served in HM minesweepers, resuming his post at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory after the war ended. In 1923, he returned to Aberdeen as senior naturalist to the Fishery Board Research Station, Torry, and in 1934, was appointed Superintendent of Scientific Investigators under the Scottish Fishery Board. Clark retired in 1948 as director of the Torry Marine Research Laboratory, and was appointed chairman of the Northern North Sea Committee of the International Council. He died on 29 September 1950.

Published material 'Scotia collection of the Antarctic fishes' by Robert Selbie Clark in Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Report on the scientific results of the voyage of S.Y. Scotia during the years 1902, 1903 and 1904, under the leadership of William S. Bruce, Volume 5, Zoology, edited by William Speirs Bruce, Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory Edinburgh (1915) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1902-1904 Bruce]


The collection is split into five sub-fonds comprising of expedition material, correspondence and biographical information on Clark and finally correspondence to Clark emanating from other sources.

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 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 and 'Dr. R.S. Clark' by James Ritchie in Nature (December 1950) volume 166, number 4234, p1055 and 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

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