GRAN, Tryggve (1888-1980). Two autograph manuscript sledging journals of the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition, comprising:
Autograph manuscript journal, ‘Vestover’ [Westwards], 7 November 1911 – 25 February 1912, covering the departure of the Second Geological Expedition from Cape Evans in November 1911 and journey to Granite Harbour, the building of the hut at Geology Point and surveying the Mackay Glacier, the first sighting of Terra Nova and the frustrated attempts to collect the party that followed, and the eventual re-boarding of the ship and return to Cape Evans in February 1912. In Norwegian, 78 pages, 228 x 177mm, written in pencil and occasionally pen, the entries in a Waterlow & Sons Limited blank notebook. Original black leather binding. [With, tipped in:] 1½ pages of Gran’s autograph notes on daily miles travelled, on a bifolium, British Antarctic Expedition Terra Nova stationery.
Autograph manuscript journal, ‘Southern Journey 1912-13’, 29 October 1912 – 17 February 1913, covering the departure from Cape Evans in search of Scott’s party, the arrival at One Ton Depot and the subsequent discovery of the tent with the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on 12 November 1912, Gran’s reading of Scott’s last diary entries and the fruitless search for Oates, the return to Hut Point and joyful discovery of the survival of Campbell’s party, the ascent of Erebus and final days at Cape Evans, before the return to Lyttelton in February 1913. In English, c.144 pages, with a further 8 pages of meteorological notes and a sketch, 155 x 100mm, written in pencil, the entries in a Waterlow & Sons Navigating Officer’s Note Book. Original cloth binding, Gran’s ownership inscription on cover in red ink.
Provenance: by direct descent from Tryggve Gran.
Two extraordinary sledging journals of Tryggve Gran, diverging often from his published memoirs and offering additional material, covering Gran’s astonishingly prescient dream on the night of 14 December 1911 of Amundsen’s triumph, and the search for Scott’s party and tragic discovery of the tent. A supremely important piece of Polar history.
‘I dreamt I got a telegram: Amundsen reached Pole 15th December’ (15 December 1911)
‘It has happened – we have found what we sought – horrible, ugly fate – Only 11 miles from One Ton Depot – The Owner, Wilson & Birdie. All gastsly. I will never forget it so long I live – a horrible nightmare could not have shown more horror than this “Campo Santo”. In a tent – snowcovered til up above the door we found the three boddies. The Owner in the middle, half out of his bagg. Birdie on his right and Uncle Bill on left laying headway to the door. The frost had made the skin yellow & transparent & I’ve never seen anything worse in my life. The Owner seems to have struggled hard in the moment of death, while the two others seem to have gone off in a kind of sleep’
‘The Owner writes in his diary: There is no more hope and so God look after our people…’ (12 November 1912)
‘We have built a carn – a 12 foot carn and put a cross made of a pair of skis on it’ (13 November 1912)
‘We found last night the Polparties theodolite, camera etc – also Oates’ sleeping bag’ (14 November 1912)
‘I am using the Owner’s ski – they must finish the journey – and they will’ (17 November 1912)
The young Norwegian Tryggve Gran was recruited by Scott as a skiing expert for the Terra Nova expedition on the recommendation of the explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen: he would go on to play a valuable role in the second geological expedition (November 1911-February 1912), which collected data in the Granite Harbour region before becoming stranded by the ice, necessitating a trek southwards to their rescue. Later that year, on 29 October 1912, Gran was part of the 11-man search team that set off from Cape Evans in search of the polar party; they found the tent containing the frozen bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on 12 November. After they retrieved their personal effects and records, Gran used his own pair of skis to fashion a cross, raised above the snow cairn built to cover the bodies of the ill-fated polar party, before returning to camp on Scott’s skis, reasoning that at least his expedition leader’s skis would finish their journey. In December 1912, before leaving Antarctica, Gran he made an ascent of Mount Erebus with Raymond Priestley and Frederick Hooper, and was lucky to escape with his life after an unexpected eruption set off an avalanche of the surrounding pumice stone. Gran won the Polar Medal for his endeavours in Antarctica.