27 September 2006
LITTLE AMERICA, 1928-30 -- RICHARD EVELYN BYRD (1888-1957)
Admiral Byrd's Inuit fur-lined anorak, the body made from Arctic ground squirrel, the hem and shoulders trimmed with decorative brown and white chequered patchwork of caribou hide, the hood with caribou trim collar, the inside of hem and cuffs finished with mink, lined around the hood, hem and cuffs with long brown and white wolverine hair, with inscription '1928 R.E. Byrd' on outside of hood below chin --45in. (114.3cm.) long
[together with:] a de-accession notice (for the present anorak 'A-182') from the Smithsonian Institution addressed to the Estate of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Boston, MA; and two photographs of Byrd's ticker-tape parade in Boston, c. 1930, by Savage (photographer).
In 1928-30 Byrd led a private expedition to Antarctica with the intention of emulating at the South Pole his achievement of 1926 when he and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole. The expedition was well equipped with three aircraft all adapted for high altitude flying in cold conditions, 95 dogs and a team of over 50 men. Byrd established a base camp east of the Bay of Whales which he named Little America (a few miles from the site of Amundsen's old winter quarters). In November 1929, Byrd and three companions took off in a three-engine, 975-horsepower Ford which could carry a six-ton load at 125 mph. The hazardous journey included the successful navigation of a pass created by a glacier (the plane could not climb high enough to fly over the mountains) and the jettisoning of their emergency food supplies. Byrd's expedition bore witness to a shift from the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration to the 'Mechanical Age'; the journey which had taken Amundsen 90 days and from which Scott did not return was accomplished in just 15 hours and 51 minutes.
In tribute to the many accomplishments of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, an honorary donation from the sale of this lot will be made to the Explorers Club of New York, to which Byrd was elected member in 1926 and made honorary member in 1927, receiving 'The Explorers Club Medal', the Club's highest honour, in 1939. (4)
Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd.
The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, A-182, de-accessioned and returned to the Estate of Admiral Byrd, Boston, MA.
Anon. sale, Central Mass Auctions Inc., Cherry Valley, MA, 25 May 2006, when acquired by the present owner.
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