First Edition of The Last of the Arctic Voyages; Being a Narrative of The Expedition in H.M.S. Assistance; from the libraries of explorers Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Steve Fossett

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The Last of the Arctic Voyages; Being a Narrative of The Expedition in H.M.S. Assistance, Under the Command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher C.B.


Item Number: 95172

London: L. Reeve, 1855.

First edition of Belcher’s narrative detailing his Arctic Expedition aboard the H.M.S. Assistance in the final British attempt to locate the lost Sir John Franklin. Octavo, two volumes, original publisher’s blind-stamped cloth, rebacked by Zaehnsdorf retaining the original cloth binding, gilt titles and tooling to the spine and front panel, lithographed frontispiece to each volume, illustrated with 36 chromolithograph plates, charts, 3 folding maps and 2 additional maps in rear cover pocket. Association copy, inscribed by Canadian Arctic explorer and ethnologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson to John Weaver, “For John Weaver, a contribution to his growing library from his friend Vilhjalmur Stefansson April 1 1950.” Stefansson organized and led the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-1916 which explored the regions west of Parry Archipelago and was President of the Explorer’s Club from both 1919-1922 and 1937-1939. From the Adventure and Exploration collection of James Stephen “Steve” Fossett with his bookplate to the pastedown of each volume. American businessman and record-setting aviator Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in 2002 in his 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom. He completed the 2002 trip in 13 days, 8 hours, and 33 minutes and set records for both the Longest Distance Flown Solo in a Balloon and Fastest Balloon Flight Around the World. Fossett was also one of sailing’s most prolific distance record holders set the Absolute World Speed Record for airships with a Zeppelin NT in 2004. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career including aviation’s highest award, the Gold Medal of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which he was awarded in 2002. Fossett disappeared on September 3, 2007 while flying a light aircraft over the Great Basin Desert, between Nevada and California. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable with noted provenance.

Admiral Sir Edward Belcher's 1852-54 expedition to rescue Sir Ben Franklin was be the last official British attempt to rescue the crew of Franklin's lost and final expedition. On the HMS Assistance, Belcher successfully navigated through the Wellington Channel, but was unable to return to Lancaster Sound due to ice floes and was forced to abandon the ship. The present account of the expedition also includes essays on the natural history of the region by Richardson, Owen, Bell, Salter and Reeve.

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