Alexander Stevens collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914-1917 (Captains Mackintosh and Stenhouse) and correspondence by Stevens.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander O. Stevens was born on 11 January 1886 in Scotland. Graduating with an arts degree from Glasgow University in 1907, he taught at Stornaway before returning to Glasgow to study science. After graduating with a distinction in geology in 1913, he worked as an assistant in the department of geography before joining the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914-1917 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), as geologist and chief of scientific staff. He participated in depot-laying operations across the Ross Ice Shelf, providing all that was needed for Shackleton and the trans-polar party.

After the expedition, Stevens saw service in the Royal Engineers during the First World War. Returning to Glasgow University after the war, he was head of the department of geography, and in 1947 was appointed the first professor of geography at Glasgow University. In 1919, Stevens visited the Arctic as geologist with the Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate's expedition. After his retirement in 1953, he lectured on several occasions at St Andrew's University and the John Hopkins University in Baltimore. He died on 20 December 1965.


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and correspondence 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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 The Polar Record (January 1967) volume 13 number 85 p493

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

Material by and regarding Stevens can also be found in the Joseph Russell Stenhouse collection (MS 1590) at the Institute.