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GREELY, Adolphus Washington (1844–1935). An albumen photograph of The Greely Expedition, 1881. Washington, D.C.: Rice Photograph Studio, June 1881.

(108 x 165 mm). On original studio mount, captioned below with list of expedition members as pictured in Greely’s 2–volume first edition of “Three Years of Arctic Service: An Account of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1886). SIGNED ON THE VERSO BY COMMANDER GREELY and dated 29 September 1933. Provenance: From the Grover W. Ayers collection. Grover, a Washington D.C. resident, was a collector of important historical documents during the late 19th century to 1935 and was executive director of the “Ten–Mile Square Club” (stamp on verso). [With:] an additional Greely Expedition cabinet card by Cook Studios in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1884), showing the expedition members before departure but with one less member and a few modifications to some facial features.

BOTH ARE RARE GROUP PORTRAITS that feature the 22 members of the U.S. International Polar Year Scientific Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay, Ellesmere Island, sponsored by the U.S. Signal Service and other government agencies. After two winters and the failure of relief expeditions in 1882 and 1883, Greeley abandoned Fort Conger and moved to Cape Sabine as per his predetermined orders. Eighteen men would die that winter — including one by suicide and one execution (Pvt. Charles B. Henry). Seven survivors were rescued by Schley’s relief expedition on June 22, 1883, but Sargent Ellison would perish before reaching St. John’s on July 17.

 GREELY, Adolphus Washington (1844–1935). An albumen photogr...
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