Sir John Franklin Bibliography, 1845-2014


Zones of Earth print

Anonymous. Zones of the Earth: North Frigid Zone. Lithograph, paper. 17 ¾ in × 23 ¾ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue #2001.100.6317. Accessed Dec 2014.

Sir John Franklin left England in 1845 to chart the Northwest Passage and never returned. The English, American, and Canadian governments sent dozens of search expeditions over the next century but Franklin’s vessels, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, apparently vanished into solid ice. Ryan Harris of Canada recovered the Erebus in 2014 and Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed his discovery. The search for Franklin has become an historical event in its own right that will continue to perplex scholars for years to come.


Primary Literature

“Explorers find 110-year-old message.” Eugene Register-Guard. 27 July 1989. Accessed Oct 2014.

Franklin, John. “The Victory Point Record.” Harper’s Weekly. 20 October 1850.

Gilder, William H. Among the Eskimaux with Schwatka. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, 1999. Accessed Nov 2014.

———· Schwatka’s Search: Sledging in the arctic in quest of the Franklin records. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, 1999. Accessed Jan 2015. and

Hall, Charles Francis. Collection (Hall Papers). 1858–71. Mixed media. 3.5 cu ft, 12 boxes, 114 items. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Catalogue # ACNMAH 0702. Accessed Oct 2014.

———· Life with the Esquimaux: The Narrative of Captain Charles Francis Hall of the Whaling Barque George Henry from the 29th May, 1860, to the 13th September, 1862. Cambridge: University Press, 2011. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· Narrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall: his voyage to Repulse bay, sledge journeys to the straits of Fury and Hecla and to King William’s land, and residence among the Eskimos, during the years 1864-69. Washington, DC: U.S. Naval Observatory, 1879. Accessed Jan 2015. and

Hayes, Isaac Israel. The land of desolation: being a personal narrative of observation and adventure in Greenland. London: 1871. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· The Open Polar Sea: A Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery Towards the North. London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston, 1867. Accessed Jan 2015.

Kane, Elisha Kent. Arctic explorations: The second Grinnell expedition in search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, ‘54, ‘55. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Library, 2005. Accessed Jan 2015.,, and

———· The United States Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin: A personal narrative. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Library, 2005. Accessed Jan 2015. and

Klutschak, Heinrich W. Overland to Starvation Cove: With the Inuit in Search of Franklin, 1878–1880. Edited and translated by William Barr. Toronto: University Press, 1987. Accessed Jan 2015.

McClintock, Francis Leopold. The Voyage of the “Fox” in the Arctic Seas: A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions. London: J. Murray, 1859. Accessed Jan 2015.

Merrill, Frederick. “Eothen, 130 tons, schooner of New York: Thomas Barry, master; Frederick Merrill [‘Merel’], keeper.” Journal kept by Frederick Merrill [‘Merel’] on two voyages to Hudson’s Bay. 19 June 1878–10 Sept 1878. Paper, leather. 3 ¾ in × 8 ¼ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA.

Nobel, Louis Legrand. After icebergs with a painter: a summer voyage to Labrador and around Newfoundland. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1861. Accessed Jan 2015.

Rasmussen, Knud. Across Arctic America: Narrative of the Fifth Thule Expedition. Edited by Terrence Cole. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press, 1999.

Richardson, John. Arctic Ordeal: The Journal of John Richardson, Surgeon-Naturalist with Franklin, 1820–22. Edited by C. Stuart Houston, illustrated by H. Albert Hochbaum. Montreal: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 1984.

Schwatka, Frederick. Journal 1878–1880. Manuscripts Division, Mystic Seaport. Catalogue ? Misc. Vol. 163. Accessed Nov 2014.

———· The Long Arctic Search: The Narrative of Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, USA. Edited by Edouard A. Stackpole. Mystic, CT: The Marine Historical Association, Inc., 1965.


Secondary Literature

Balog, James. “Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss.” TEDGlobal 2009. Modified July 2009. Accessed Jan 2015.

Battersby, William. Hidden Tracks. Accessed Nov 2014.

———· “Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition.” Journal of the Hakluyt Society (Sept 2008).

Beattie, Owen B. and John Geiger. Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, 2nd edition. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004.

Berton, Pierre. The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and The North Pole, 1818–1909. New York: Viking Press, 1988. Accessed Jan 2015.

Bradford, William. The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland. Edited by Michael Lapides. Boston: David R. Godine, 2013. Accessed Jan 2015.

Cookman, Scott. Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin’s Lost Polar Expedition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000.

Farrer, Keith Thomas H. “Lead and the Last Franklin Expedition.” Journal of Archaeological Science 20/4 (July 1993).

Harper, Kenn. Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo. Hanover, NH: Steelforth Press, 2001.

———· Inulluapik, Inuk explorer. Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta: Above and Beyond, Ltd., 1990. Accessed Jan 2015.

Kowal, Walter, Owen B. Beattie, Halfdan Baadsgaard, and Peter M. Krahn. “Source Identification of Lead Found in Tissues of Sailors from the Franklin Arctic Expedition of 1845.” Journal of Archaeological Science 18/2 (1991).

Kugler, Richard C. William Bradford: Sailing Ships & Arctic Seas. New Bedford, MA and Seattle: New Bedford Whaling Museum and University of Washington Press, 2003. Accessed Jan 2015.

Lambert, Andrew. Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

Loomis, Chauncey C. Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971. Accessed Jan 2015.

Lopez, Barry. Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape. London: Harvill Press, 1999. Accessed Jan 2015.

Martin, Ronald R., Steven Naftel, Sheila Macfie, Keith Jones, and Andrew Nelson. “Pb Distribution in Bones from the Franklin Expedition: Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence and Laser Ablation/Mass Spectroscopy.” Applied Physics A 111/1 (Apr 2013).

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. “NASA scientist Eric Rignot provides a narrated tour of Greenland’s moving ice sheet.” NASA Viz. Modified 21 Aug 2012. Accessed Jan 2015.

National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. “Essays on the Arctic.” Arctic Theme Page. Accessed Jan 2015.

Neatby, Leslie H. The Search for Franklin: The Story of One of the Great Dramas of Polar Exploration. New York: Walker, 1970. Accessed Jan 2015.

New Bedford Whaling Museum. Arctic Visions: Away then Floats the Ice-Island. Accessed Oct 2014.

Potter, Russell. “Arctic Exploration: A brief history of Arctic explorers and expeditions.” Visions of the North. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818–1875. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007.

———· Review of Strangers Among Us, by David C. Woodman. Accessed Nov 2014.

———· Visions of the North. Accessed Oct 2014.

Savours, Ann. The Search for the Northwest Passage. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Accessed Jan 2015.

“Special Report: The Arctic.” The Economist. 16 June 2012. Accessed Jan 2015.

Specq, François. Transcendence: Seers and Seekers in the Age of Thoreau. Higganum, CT: Higganum Hill Books, 2006.

Wamsley, Douglas. Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D. American Philosophical Society Press, 2009.

Wilson, John. John Franklin: Traveller on Undiscovered Seas. Lantzville, BC: XYZ Publishing, 2001.

Woodman, David C. Strangers Among Us. Montreal: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 1995.

———· Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony. Montreal: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 1992.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “The Greenland Glacier Expedition: July 7–July 24, 2008.” Polar Discovery. Modified July 2008. Accessed Jan 2015.


Artwork and Artifacts

Arnold, John Roger. Chronometer. Circa 1842. Wood, brass, glass. 2 9/16 in × 4 5/16 in; box dimensions: 16 cm × 15 7/10 cm × 15 7/10 cm. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 1967.8. Accessed Jan 2015.

Bradford, William. The English Arctic Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin. 1875. Oil on canvas. 6 ft × 10 ft. Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta. Catalogue # 61.46.28. Accessed Oct 2014.

Delin, Charles. Portrait of Ansel Gibbs. Circa 1805. Oil on canvas. 21 in × 16 in; framed: 32 in × 28 in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 1990.1.2. Accessed Jan 2015.

Durgin, Charles H. Durgin Floral Cowhorns (pair). Circa 1870. Horn. 10 in (each). New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 2001.100.2206. Accessed Jan 2015.

Klutschak, Henry W. American Whaling fleet in Winterquarters at Marble Island, 1878–79. 1879. Pencil, chalk, paper. 8 5/8 in × 10 5/8 in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 00.203.93. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· Whalers Wintering Over at Marble Island. 1880. Crayon and chalk on paper. 7 ¼ in × 9 ¾ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 00.203.92. Accessed Jan 2015.

Landseer, Edwin. Man Proposes, God Disposes. 1864. Oil on canvas. Royal Holloway College, University of London. Catalogue # THC0032. Accessed Oct 2014.

NMMpolar. Franklin’s Ships “Erebus” and “Terror.” 1826–1927. Mixed media. National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich. Accessed Oct 2014.

Sorensen, X. A. Fra Franklin-Expeditionen. Rendyrjagt i Kajakker [Eskimo caribou hunt from kayaks]. 1878. Engraving. 8 ½ in × 6 1/8 in; paper: 11 in × 7 ¼ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 2001.100.8351. Accessed Jan 2015.

Unknown. Pictures of the Polar Regions. 1849. Lithograph. 15 ½ in × 10 ¾ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 2001.100.8178. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· Seaming palm. Leather, iron, thread, string. 2 in × 5 ¼ in. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. Catalogue # 2001.100.2655. Accessed Jan 2015.

———· Telescope barrel and objective lens. Before 1845. Glass, brass. Barrel: 513 mm × 53 mm; objective mount: 112 mm × 52 mm. National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich. Catalogue # AAA2227. Accessed Oct 2014.

———· Wallet (Peglar Pocket Book). Before 1845. Paper, leather. 155 mm × 175 mm. Royal Holloway College, University of London. Catalogue # AAA2114. Accessed Oct 2014.

Last modified: July 19, 2019