Bartlett, Robert A. “Captain Bob”


1919 ALS to “Who’s Who in America” from the Canadian seafarer and Arctic explorer



Autograph ID: 4871
Condition: Very good, pencil erasures barely visible, minor pin holes; sheet with his bio entry worn at edges
Description: “(1875-1946) Newfoundland navigator and Arctic explorer of the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Heir to a family tradition of seafaring, he spent 50+ years mapping and exploring the waters of the Far North and led over 40 expeditions to the Arctic, more than anyone before or since. Bartlett was captain of the “Roosevelt” and accompanied Robert Peary on his attempts to reach the North Pole. He was awarded the Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society in 1909 for breaking the trail through the frozen Arctic Sea to within 150 miles of the pole. Bartlett took a ship and was the first person to sail north of 88° N. In 1914, his leadership in the doomed Karluk Expedition helped save the lives of most of its stranded participants after leader Vilhjalmur Stefansson abandoned the expedition. After being stranded for several months, Bartlett and Inuit hunter Kataktovik walked 700 miles from Wrangel Island over the ice of the Chukchi Sea and across Siberia and then mounted an expedition from Alaska to rescue his surviving companions on Wrangel Island. He received the highest award from the Royal Geographical Society for his outstanding heroism. In 1917, Bartlett rescued the members of Donald Baxter MacMillan’s ill-fated Crocker Land Expedition, who had been stuck on the ice for four years. From 1925-45, at the command of his own schooner, he led many important scientific expeditions to the Arctic sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society, and also helped survey the Arctic during WW II. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the American Geographical Society in 1918, and its Daly Medal in 1925. The Canada Post featured Bartlett on a 2009 postage stamp.

ALS “R. A. Bartlett” on 7 ¾ x 5 ¾ Aero Club of America letterhead, New York City, October 24 1919, to Who’s Who in America, Chicago, regarding a lost letter and entry revision. With printer’s proof copy of his entry with pencil notes not in his hand.”
Type: Letter

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