[ROBERT FALCON SCOTT (1868-1912)]
Catalogue of Books of the 'Discovery' 1901 [National Antarctic Expedition Library]. [London: printed by William Clowes, 1901]. 8° (223 x 146mm). Collation: B-C8 D1. (Slight spotting and staining to preliminaries, verso of final leaf thumb soiled.) Original blue grey wrappers with printed title on front cover (soiled and stained, 20mm. hole in lower wrapper, spine worn at foot). Provenance: Charles Reginald Ford (the lot is accompanied by a copy of his typed letter to E.R. Gibbs, dated Auckland 26 July 1957, presenting the catalogue as a gift).
A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL RARITY FROM SCOTT'S FIRST EXPEDITION, BELONGING TO ONE OF HIS WARRANT OFFICERS. The only other copy to be recorded by ABPC in the past 30 years was included as lot 181 in Christie's Exploration and Travel sale, 17 September 1998. The private nature of the publication is evident from the fact that it has no title page, the title being printed on the wrapper only. As it was intended solely for use on board the Discovery, the print run must have been tiny, perhaps no more than 20 copies. The clear divisions into 'Biographical', 'Essays and Philosophical', 'Historical', 'Travel', 'Fiction', 'Poetical', 'Magazines', 'Reference', 'Scientific', and 'Expeditions' make the catalogue of particular interest, as do the press marks showing exactly where the books were kept. For example, a set of Whyte Melville was located on the mess deck (as were 35 vols. of Punch), while a set of Walter Scott graced the Captain's cabin. George Meredith was divided between Dr. Wilson and Lt. Barne; the latter was also lucky enough to keep Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat by his bunk. Travel literature was principally divided between the captain's cabin and the ward room, but Scott appears to have wanted nothing on science or scientific expeditions anywhere near him. Reginald Ford, the ship's steward, is known to have culled his savoury dishes from Mrs Beeton. His letter to Gibbs explains that the cover of his copy of the catalogue was 'unfortunately stained ... by the rolling and leaking of the ship'. Conrad p. 119.