Canada and Arctic
Arctic Exploration Archive. A collection of five letters to Dr. Operti regarding Arctic matters, 6pp. sizes ranging from 210 x 137 mm to 8 x 215 mm, New York and Washington DC, 1885 to 1920. Dr. Albert Operti (1852-1927) was an artist and explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on his 1896 expedition to Greenland, a voyage from which Operti produced hundreds of sketches that served as the basis for his later paintings and illustrated works. In mid-life he worked as a theatrical scene painter for the Metropolitan Opera and the American Museum of Natural History, where he also was commissioned to make plaster casts of Greenlanders. The majority of Operti's works reside at the Explorers' Club in New York, where he died in 1927 while in residence.
Autograph Letter Signed "W.E. DeVerna", 1 page, 210 x 137 mm, [New York], no date, asking to meet for advice on an Arctic scene setting, in full: "Will you call at my shop (The Above Number) Tomorrow Eve at 7 or 8 Oclock.I wish to se [sic] you About a scene of the Arctic Regions that I Conversed with you About will you Kindly Bring some of the Pho you Have or some skitches [sic] in my mind You Can Outdue them All so Come Prepaired. [sic]". William E. DeVERNA (?-?) was the owner of the Chatham Theatre and later the manager of Niblo's Theatre (Niblo's Garden) in New York City.
Autograph Letter Signed "C.H. Harlow, Ensign, U.S.N.", 2pp., 234 x 146 mm, bifolium, Washington, 5 January 1885, a friendly letter discussing a trip to New York, in part: "...I have not a copy of the group in my possession nor do I know of any one that has, I cannot fill in the manner you wish. I shall probably be in New York and shall come to see you and will then tell you all you wish to Know about the work and grin[?] you any suggestions that lie in my power. ..." Charles H. HARLOW(?-?) was an naval officer stationed aboard the USS Thetis, serving on the 1884 Relief Expedition that saved the survivors of the Greely Expedition from Lady Franklin Bay in the high Arctic. By 1887, he was Commander of the Navy Recruiting Station in Pittsburgh. He was the Commandant of Guantanamo Bay from May 1908 to April 1909. He commanded the flagship California of the Pacific Squadron until his retirement from service in 1911. Harlow is credited with the first appearance of the "Navy Goat", the Naval Academy's football mascot, which first appeared at the annual West Point v. Naval Academy game of 1890. As the legend has it, Harlow purchased the goat from a farmer for one dollar and brought it with him to the game as a symbol of good luck. Upon the Naval Academy's landslide win of 24-0, they adopted the goat as mascot, and still maintain a real goat mascot named Bill, who also appears on the Naval Academy's logo.
Typed Letter Signed "F. Schwanhausser" as President of Chas. Beseler Co., 1 page, 280 x 216 mm, on Chas. Beseler Co. letterhead, New York, 22 December 1909, requesting Arctic depictions, in full: "Our friends at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as Mr. Fiala and many others, have advised me to ask you if I can get one or two pictures pertaining to arctic exploration from you. We are finishing a complete set of lantern slides on arctic exploration and are short a few pictures. If you feel inclined to accommodate me, I should be pleased to call on you by appointment." F. SCHWANHAUSSER (?-?) was a German inventor who emigrated to America and joined the Chas. Beseler Company at the end of the 19th Century. The company sold medical supplies and Magic Lanterns until Schwanhausser's arrival, when the inventory expanded to include audio-visual products of Schwanhausser's invention. "Mr. Fiala" was Anthony Fiala, Commander of the Zeigler Polar Expedition of 1903-1905.
Typed Letter Signed "Terry M. Townsend", 1 page, 278 x 215 mm, on Kane Lodge No. 454 letterhead, New York, 19 February 1920, seeking advice regarding the Kane Centennial Celebration, in part: "...Can you arrange to drop by my office, which is near the Museum, at some time agreeable to both of us? There are so many things that I want your advice about and suggestions concerning for this forthcoming KANE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION. I sent an official invitation to Mr. Vilhaljmur Stefanson addressed to the Yale Club... but it was returned unclaimed. Can you help me out with his address? ..." Dr. Terry Monroe TOWNSEND (?-?) was Master of Kane Lodge Number 454, housed in the Masonic Temple in New York City.
Typed Letter Signed "Terry M. Townsend", 1 page, 278 x 215 mm, on Kane Lodge No. 454 letterhead, New York, 27 February 1920, regarding acquiring Robert Peary's North Pole Flag, in part: "...I am writing Mrs. Peary by this mail but I cannot find enough courage to ask her outright for the North Pole Flag. That portion of my request I am veiling in indefinite language. Think it would be better to let KANE LODGE'S friends make the suggestion that she present us with the flag. ..." Peary's North Pole Flag is on permanent exhibition at the National Geographic Society of Washington.
Light toning and creasing, soiling, edge wear, usual folds, two hole punches to TLS dated 22 December 1909 not affecting content, overall very good to fine condition.
A complete set of 6 early 20th century chromo advertising cards on Eskimo Life. They are by the French shop Aux Ecossaises. The cards give the address of the shop on back, with the words ‘English Spoken’. Each card contains a description of an aspect of Eskimo life on the front of the card.