Salomon Andre collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of press cuttings regarding Andre's balloon expeditions.

Administrative / Biographical History

Salomon August Andre was born on 18 October 1854 at Grenna in Sweden. He studied engineering at the Technical Institute in Stockholm before undertaking a study tour to America in 1876, where he became interested in ballooning. In 1882, Andre joined the Swedish International Polar Year Expedition, 1882-1883 (leader Nils Gustaf Ekholm), organized to establish a scientific station at Mosselbukta on the north coast of Spitsbergen as Sweden's contribution to the International Polar Year. Due to the heavy ice, the expedition established an alternative site at Kapp Thorsden, on the north shore of Isfjorden, where meteorological and magnetic observations were conducted.

On his return in 1883, Andre took up an administrative post at the Technological Institute in Stockholm, later accepting the post of head of the technical department at the Patent Office. After raising funds to purchase a balloon of 1000 cubic metres, Andre executed nine ascents from Stockholm and Goteborg between 1893 and 1895, conducting scientific observations and producing reports which were later printed in the publications of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1895, he publicly announced his plans to explore the Arctic Ocean by balloon and, if possible, reach the North Pole. After his first Swedish North Polar Balloon Expedition of 1896 failed due to unsuitable weather conditions, Andre began plans for another polar expedition. In 1897, the second Swedish North Polar Balloon Expedition set out from Danskya, Spitsbergen, in the hydrogen-filled balloon Ornen. Beset by mishaps from the start, Andre and his two companions, Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel, reached 82° 56 minutes North before abandoning the flight. Landing on the ice some 300km northeast of Svalbard, the three men set out on the return journey, drifting on the ice as far as the island of Kvitya where they died of unknown causes (probably trichinosis or botulism).

Search expeditions were organized but nothing was known of their fate until 1930 when a Norwegian Scientific Expedition, under Captain Peder Eliassen in the sealer Bratvaag, unexpectedly discovered their camp, diaries and other relics. Their bodies were brought home in 1930.

Published work The Andre diaries. Being the diaries and records of S.A. Andre, Nils Strindberg, and Knut Fraenkel written during their balloon expedition to the North Pole in 1897 and discovered on White Island in 1930, together with a complete record of the expedition and discovery by Salomon August Andre, Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel, translated by Edward Adams-Ray, John Lane the Bodley Head London (1931) SPRI Library Shelf (°32)91(08)[1897 Andre]


The collection 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 has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to High Latitudes - a history of Swedish polar travels and research by Gosta H. Liljequist, Streiffert Stockholm (1993) SPRI Library Shelf (2)91(091)[1993] and Bartleby and Clive Holland Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia Garland Publishing, London (1994)

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.

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Further accessions possible