Alexander Hepburne Macklin 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), the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), papers including lecture notes, correspondence by Macklin and biographical material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Hepburne Macklin worked for a short period as a deck-hand before reading medicine at Manchester University. He joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party] 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton) as surgeon. After the expedition ship Endurance was crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, the party escaped in boats to Elephant Island. A party of six led by Shackleton made the epic journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia to seek help from the Stromness whaling station and in August 1916 Macklin and his companions were rescued from Elephant Island.

Macklin saw service in both World Wars, being awarded the military Cross while on the Italian front in the First World War and served later in Russia with Sir Ernest Shackleton. Repatriated and demobilised, he became surgeon to the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922, treating Shackleton in his final illness. He wrote the appendix on the medical work of the expedition (a practical guide to the recognition, prevention and cure of ailments likely to be met with in polar regions, with a section on the care of sledge dogs) in Frank Wild's Shackleton's last voyage (London, 1923),

Thereafter Macklin held hospital appointments in Dundee and Aberdeen, in addition to being physician-in-charge of student health and lecturer in social medicine at Aberdeen University. He died in Aberdeen, Scotland on 21 March 1967.

Published work, Medical [report] in Shackleton's last voyage. The story of the Quest ... from the official journal and private diary kept by Dr A.H. Macklin by John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild, Cassell and Company London (1923) SPRI Library Shelf (ƫ)91(08)[1921-22 Shackleton]


The collection is split into four sub-fonds, covering expedition material correspondence, papers and biographical material 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 The Polar Record (January 1969) volume 14, number 91, p523-524 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.

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, some of which covers the expeditions Macklin took part in. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.