Leslie Quartermain collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material written on Antarctic explorers and Quartermain's own visit to Antarctica.

Administrative / Biographical History

Leslie Bowden Quartermain was born in Hororata on 10 June 1895. He taught for eight years at Christchurch Boys' High School before becoming head of the English department at Wellington College in 1930, a post held until 1956. Contacts with Antarctic expedition ships passing through New Zealand ports inspired him and several colleagues to found the New Zealand Antarctic Society, which for many years helped to develop and publicise Antarctic interest in New Zealand. In 1950 the New Zealand Antarctic Society began to publish Antarctic News with Quartermain as editor. His eighteen years in this post brought him into touch with innumerable Antarctic explorers ranging from veterans of the heroic era to the newest recruits to the polar scene. He visited Antarctica on three occasions, on his second foray from 1960 to 1961, he went as leader of a team to restore Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds and Scott's hut at Cape Evans.

In 1959, having retired from teaching, Quartermain joined the newly established Antarctic Division of the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as Information Officer, a post that gave him opportunities for historical research and writing. He at once began work on chronicling the history of the Ross Dependency. In 1967, he was awarded the MBE for his outstanding contribution on Antarctic affairs. He died in Wellington, New Zealand on 28 April 1973.

Published works, Antarctica's Forgotten Men by Leslie B. Quartermain, Millwood Press, Wellington (1981) ISBN 0-908582-52-8 SPRI Library Shelf 92(08)[1981] South to the Pole, the early history of the Ross Sea sector, Antarctica by Leslie B. Quartermain, Oxford University Press London (1967) SPRI Library Shelf (76)91(091) New Zealand and the Antarctic by Leslie B. Quartermain, Government Printer, Wellington (1971) SPRI Library Shelf (76)91(091)


The collection is split into two sub-fonds relating to Quartermain's visit to the Antarctic and the second on his biographical work on Antarctic explorers.

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 obituary by H G R King in The Polar Record (September 1973) volume 16 number 105 p882-883 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

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.