LADY (EMILY) SHACKLETON (1868-1936)
A collection of letters from various correspondents to Lady Shackleton on subjects relating to the career and achievements of Sir Ernest Shackleton, comprising:
letters from members of Shackleton's expeditions, and other explorers, including Frank Worsley (1930), Douglas Mawson (2 letters, 1933), Frank Debenham (2, 1934), Sven Hedin (letter and card, 1909 & n.d.) and Fridtjof Nansen (2 visiting cards with autograph annotations);
other correspondents include Arthur Conan Doyle (2 letters, 1924, concerning spirit communications from Shackleton, with two related letters making an appointment for Lady Shackleton to see a medium), Edmund Gosse (2 cards, 1923, one as thanks for a copy of Mill's Life of Shackleton), and Princess Fanny Dolgorouki; letters on behalf of Queen Alexandra and King George V, thanking Lady Shackleton for copies of the Life;
other subjects of correspondence include the unveiling of the statue of Shackleton at the R.G.S. (1932, correspondence including transcripts of speeches by H.R. Mill and Lord Zetland, and offprints of the same, and newspaper and journal accounts of the occasion), the screening of the film South (1935, correspondence about film rights and profits, with associated programmes and press-cuttings), Shackleton's medals, lectures on Shackleton (2 letters by G.V. Sinclair, 1925, with a typescript of the lecture), the presentation of negatives to the R.G.S., and a model of Nimrod to the Science Museum, and a radio broadcast about the Quest (transcript, 1937) and invitations to charitable events;
together approximately 53 letters and cards, 13 associated typescripts and printed texts, one group of newspaper cuttings.
Lady Shackleton and thence by descent; Christie's, 25 Sept. 2001, lot 118.
A collection of letters chiefly illustrating the responsibilities of the Shackleton legacy in the decade after his death. The letters and cards of Sven Hedin, Nansen, Mawson, Worsley, and Debenham are evidence of Lady Shackleton's continued position amongst the polar community. An interesting letter by Frank Worsley ('Wuzzles') in 1930 concerns the Quest ensign: 'I am only too glad to hand it on to you ... I am not quite certain of its origin ... but I am inclined to think that, being of silk, there has been a mistake made & that this ensign is the one King George gave [Shackleton] in 1921 ... I gather from your letter that Mrs Rowett is under the impression that she has the ensign given by the King', referring to the Endurance film, and a chance to purchase the Quest film -- 'personally I never cared for anything pertaining to that Expedition after the Boss died'. Two letters from Douglas Mawson in 1933 also discuss the vexed question of film rights, complaining of the fate of negatives taken by himself and Sir Edgeworth David in 1907-09, which had been lent to Shackleton, but ill cared for: 'I reclaimed such of them as were not missing from Sir Ernest's office 12 months after return. All members of the Expedition had the run of them for that time & as a result many were either lost or broken'; also discussing the fate of lantern slides of Shackleton's early expeditions. Two letters from Frank Debenham in 1934 at the Scott Polar Institute propose the setting up of a 'special case or corner' for the Shackleton expeditions in the Institute, and discuss Lady Shackleton's donation of a portrait. Sven Hedin (the notable Swedish explorer of central Asia and Tibet) writes in May 1909 sending his congratulations on the news of Shackleton's return from the Nimrod expedition.