The collection comprises of material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party] 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton) and later correspondence by James.
Reginald William James collection
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- ReferenceGB 15 Reginald William James
- Dates of Creation1914 - 1957
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material (3 maps, 6 volumes, 288 leaves) and correspondence (7 leaves)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Reginald William James was born in London on 9 January 1891. He was educated at the Regent Street Polytechnic and read physics at St John's College, Cambridge. After two years research studentship in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, he joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton) as physicist.
After Endurance was lost, James played an important part in the saving of the expedition members by determining the longitude of the floe on which they were drifting when the ship's chronometers had become unreliable.
On return to England James was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and did pioneer work in the development of sound ranging as a method of discovering the position of enemy guns. After the First World War he lectured in physics at Manchester University, gaining a worldwide reputation as an X-ray crystallographer. In 1937 he became Professor of Physics at the University of Cape Town,South Africa, retiring in 1957. James died in Cape Town on 7 July 1964.
The collection is split into two sub-fonds, comprising of expedition material and correspondence respectively.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to The Polar Record (January 1965) volume 12, number 79, p497-498 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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.
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