Ill-fated Polaris expedition explained
Camden — Dr. Richard Cornelia will return to the Camden Public Library with another intriguing slide talk, The Ill-Fated Polaris Expedition, on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m.
The Polaris expedition, America’s first attempt to reach the North Pole in 1871, ended in tragedy. Doomed from the start, the mission was plagued by politics, insubordination and the suspected murder of its commander, Charles Francis Hall. Half the crew would spend over six months drifting 1,700 miles on an ice floe in the Arctic’s black winter, fighting starvation, storms and intense cold.
The talk will be accompanied by a display of contemporary periodicals and books on the expedition, provided by the Kislak Foundation. The display will include three bound volumes narrating Hall’s expedition, published in 1874, 1876, and 1879, Hall’s own “Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux” (1865), and two Harper’s Weekly illustrated entries from 1873.
The expedition is considered America’s North Pole saga equivalent to Ernest Shackleton’s later South Pole expedition of 1914. The talk at the library is also part of the Camden Windjammer Festival activities. Cornelia is a frequent guest lecturer at the library; this will be his ninth talk in an ongoing series.