German South Polar Expedition (1901-1903)
Erich von DRYGALSKI (1865-1949). A group of manuscripts, drawings, letters and telegrams, apparently from Drygalski's archive, in German, the majority relating to the South Polar Expedition, comprising humorous poems and sketches produced on the expedition ship, the Gauß, and letters and telegrams addressed to Drygalski (some by Drygalski) after the expedition:
TEXTS AND POEMS FROM THE GAUß: three folders, inscribed 'Antarktisches Intelligenzblatt Weinachten 1901' [Antarctic News-sheet Christmas 1901], 'Antarktisches Intelligenzblatt Neujahr 1902/1903' and 'Sonnenwende Juni 1902' [Midwinter's Day, June 1902], containing drafts for humorous journals, dialogues, skits and a large number of poems, altogether approximately 95 pages, various sizes, many sheets on paper with printed heading of Deutsche Südpolar Expedition; with a photograph of a sledge dog (faded), 12 x 9cm, mounted and inscribed 'Iwan "der Schrckliche"' [Ivan 'the Terrible'], two drawings in pencil and wash, the first, 18 x 13½ cm, the head of a bearded man, the jaw pivoted on wire, inscribed on mount 'A famous polar researcher and zoologist giving a talk about the use of alcohol on polar journeys', the second, 19 x 12½ cm, of a man seated at a bench with scientific equipment, holding a tool in one hand and a bottle in the other, the arms pivoted, inscribed on mount 'A famous polar researcher and geologist at work', and three caricature drawings of polar bears;
TELEGRAMS AND LETTERS: 5 telegrams sending congratulations to Drygalski and the crew of Gauß on their return, including one from Kaiser Wilhelm II sending his 'kaiserlichen Gruß', others from Sven Hedin and Ferdinand von Richthofen, and one telegram from Drygalski to Richthofen; a letter left for Drygalski at the Îles Kerguelen by members of the meteorological detachment of the German South Polar Expedition, signed by Enzensperger, Lunken and Menhaus, Drei-Insel-Hafen, 9 November 1901, informing Drygalski that they are proceeding to Observatory Bay; 2 envelopes with embossed crest of Deutsche Südpolar Expedition; a group of eleven autograph letters, postcards and notes signed by Erich von Drygalski, the majority to members of his family, 1929-1943; and 57 postcards addressed to Drygalski, and one other.
The poems and sketches are redolent of the schoolboyish humour and intellectual ingenuities of the Antarctic winter, with prose pieces sending imaginary postcards home, laying down 'Golden Rules: a few important rules to follow on the journey to the South Pole', or providing a mock-bibliography of members of the expedition, and poems entitled 'A penguin on the ice', 'Experiences of a penguin', 'A Kerguelen Adventure' (to be sung to the tune of 'Tannenbaum', or sending up expedition members.
After reaching the Îles Kerguelen on 1 January 1902, where they established a magnetic and meteorological station, Erich von Drygalski's German South Polar Expedition entered the pack ice and on 21 February, the day they sighted land (now the Wilhelm II Coast), became stuck. The Gauß was only the second ship to winter in the pack ice, and remained stuck fast until 8 February 1903; they returned to Kiel on 24 November of the same year. Though overshadowed by Scott's more celebrated expedition of the same year, Drygalski carried out much valuable scientific work, the publication of which was to occupy him until 1931. The Gauß was splendidly well-equipped for the Antarctic winter, with an atmosphere said to have resembled that of a cosily snowbound German hamlet.