Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, in the Years 1853, '54, '55 Volume 1 & 2
Philadelphia: Childs and Peterson, 1856. Illustrations by J.M Butler; Van Ingen & Snyder. Elisha Kent Kane. First Edition, First Printing. Publisher's Cloth Hardcovers, complete with maps and illustrations.
Brown cloth covered boards. Stamped gilt spine titles. Boards blind-stamped front and rear with intricate nautical design. Illustrated with 300+ engravings from sketches by the author. Steel plates by J.M Butler and wood engravings by Van Ingen & Snyder. Four maps, two are large folding maps; Engraved frontispiece portrait in each volume, Vignette title-page in each volume, 18 engraved tissue-guarded steel engraved plates.
The bindings are tight and square. Text clean, light even toning. Moderate shelf handling wear. Minor scuffing on the crowns. Small ownership bookplates in each. All plates/maps present with tissue guards. 8vo; 9 inches tall; Volume 1: 464 pages; Volume 2: 467 pages with nearly half given to appendixes.
Very Good / No Dust Jacket As Issued. Item #16664
As described by the title-pages, the volumes are "Illustrated by upwards of three hundred engravings, from sketches by the author. The steel plates executed [by J. Hamilton and others] under the superintendence of J.M. Butler, the wood engravings by Van Ingen & Snyder." The plates total 20 altogether, including frontispieces.
The Arctic Exploration, or 'Advance,' led by Elisha Kent Kane, was financed to find Sir John Franklin and his ship which was missing. While Franklin was never found, Kent and his explorers were able to gather valuble information about people, geography, and natural history of the Arctic region, a relatively unknown region of the world. The discoveries found on this voyage include the Humboldt Glacier, Kennedy Channel, the Kane Basin, and reaching the farthest north of any exploration at the time.
Published just one year before Kent's death, this first edition book was immensely popular shortly after it was first published and was 'often compared to the Bible for wide dissemination of America's bedside reading tables.' This book includes engraved plates, maps, and many in-text illustrations of icebergs, ship scenes, animals, and portraits.
As ship's surgeon Kane had accompanied the first American expedition to search for missing British explorer Sir John Franklin in 1850. "Kane quickly impressed British explorers with his intelligence and traveling experience. In August 1850 the fleet located Franklin's first winter base on Beechey Island, along with the graves of three of Franklin's men. Further searches by the Advance failed to locate Franklin's expedition.
The Advance returned to the United States in September 1851. Kane's belief that Franklin might have gone further north persuaded Grinnell and the U.S. Navy to support a second expedition to search for the lost explorers. Kane led this new expedition in the Advance to seek a more northerly route near Greenland.
Ref: Books on Ice 3.9; Howgego, v3, K3; Rasky, 160ff; Arctic Bibliography 8373; Sabin 36998