SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922), EDITOR
Aurora Australis. Latitude 77° 32' South, Longitude 166° 12' East, Antarctica: 'Published at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, during the winter months of April, May, June, July, 1908 ... Printed at the sign of "The Penguins" by Joyce and Wild', 1908. 4° (260 x 190mm). Chromolithographic title, 11 lithographic or etched plates by George Marston, penguin device repeated throughout in black or red. (Some text leaves with short tears around punch holes, some reinforced, without the final printed leaf 'A Giant Tick Was Investigating the Carcase' known to exist in only a few copies.) Bound by Bernard Day in original sheep-backed packing-case venesta boards, inside lower cover stencilled '...TISH ...RCTIC ...ITION 07 62', spine titled in blind and with penguin device at foot, uncut (rebacked preserving original spine); [with:] photograph of Joyce and Day(?) in sledging outfits at Cape Royds loosely inserted; modern purple cloth box. Provenance: 'Presented to Mr Chars Cooper by one of the Printers. Ernest E. Joyce May 12th 1910' (inscription on front endpaper) -- Quentin Keynes (1921-2003, gift to his doctor).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST BOOK PRINTED AND BOUND IN ANTARCTICA. LIMITED TO ABOUT 100 COPIES: ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL POLAR WORKS. While Aurora Australis continued a tradition of Polar printing that went back to the mid-19th century -- a number of ships in the Franklin search expeditions having had small steam printing presses on board -- its true inspiration was undoubtedly the South Polar Times in which Shackleton was involved as editor during Scott's Discovery Expedition of 1901-04. With this precedent in mind, Shackleton shipped a printing press, paper and the necessary type and plate-making equipment (all donated by J. Causton & Sons Ltd.) and, despite the cold and the cramped conditions of the hut at Cape Royds, around 100 copies were printed and bound in the Antarctic winter of 1908. Frank Wild and Ernest Joyce had both taken a quick course in printing before their departure from England, and despite their inexperience were able to type-set and print two pages a day, the only discernible faults in their work being that the sequencing of the unnumbered pages varies between copies and a slight inconsistency of content. Spence writes of the binding, 'The leaves were punctured along their inner margin and secured with a silken cord to the inside of two venesta boards, which form the book covers. These boards were obtained from empty tea-chests etc., with some being stencilled ... Day (the mechanic) was entrusted with the binding of the volumes, using old harness leather for the backstrip or spine ... It is reported that about 100 copies were produced at Cape Royds of which none were sold'. Conrad p.146 ('A FEW MORE THAN 60 ... COPIES ARE EXTANT'); Rosove 304.A1b; Taurus 60.