25 September 2003
SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922)
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition London: [printed for private circulation], Offices: 4 New Burlington Street, [no date, but May-June 1914]. 4° (281 x 215mm.) Printed in red and black. Mounted frontispiece and 1 plate. (Light finger-soiling to verso of frontispiece.) Original brown thin-card wrappers, title label in red and black mounted on upper cover (upper cover lightly soiled). Provenance: C.W.M. Swithinbank (ink stamp on upper cover and verso of frontispiece).
A FINE COPY OF THIS RARE EPHEMERAL ITEM HERE IN ITS SECOND STATE (OR EDITION) OMITTING THE JOHN KING DAVIS COMMENTARY. In this beautifully produced 30-page pamphlet Shackleton sets out the final aims of the expedition. From internal evidence it would appear that it was published some time after 4 May 1914: this was the date of the government's announcement of its grant of £10,000 towards the cost of the expedition, a grant that is acknowledged in the text. The first state or edition includes mention of John King Davis as Captain of the Endurance: when Shackleton realised that King was serious about his refusal to take part in the expedition he withdrew the prospectus, and the present second issue appeared (it reached some institutions by 14 June 1914). In the first part of the pamphlet, Shackleton lays out the aims of the expedition and gives some details of the main personnel. The second part is made up of 'Expert Views' (quotes from 'Polar and geographical experts' including Amundsen, Peary, Nansen, Bruce, Charcot, Nordenskjöld and others), and 'Tributes from the Press' ('The Press ... has voiced the interest and enthusiasm of the whole Empire'). Conrad p.224 (gives date as 1913); Rosove 307.A2; Spence 1106.
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