1934-36. Important and personal typed letter from Thomas Charles Poulter, second in command on the Second Byrd Antarctic expedition to the South Pole with Richard E. Byrd, 1934-1936, from Little America, Antarctica. Poulter (1897 - 1978) was credited by Byrd with saving his life when he nearly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. In his honor Byrd named a glacier after Poulter.
This is a two page very personal letter to Poulter's son, full of details of the expedition, and mailed from the expedition during its first 6 months. Poutler's wife was staying in Little America over the winter, and was the only woman there: "mother says she would like to stay here all summer and watch the penguins -- they are so polite -- they actually bow to each other when they meet".
Of the rescue of Byrd, Poulter writes, "It was an awful trip - blizzards, crevases (sic). Snow had almost covered the marker flags placed there by the Admiral on his trip down. We found him pretty well exhausted but he said: "Come in Boys, I have some hot soup for you".
Poulter describes the cow barn as being buried under the snow: "The stock, Mr. Bull and his harem of three cows are doing nicely and "Oh, Boy - don't that fresh milk taste good"?
He also describes the "Boys" regular routine during the expedition, using the radio to stay in touch with the world, playing mouth organs & banjos and singing for radio audiences, and treating Mother (Mrs. Poulter) like a "Queen among men".
The letter is addressed "Dear Son" and typed on Masonic letterhead, the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Jersey, with the Salem, NJ (the family home) struck out with typed XX's and "Little America, South Pole, Anartica (sic), August 23, 1934" typed in. Signed by hand, "Dad & Mother". Sheet size, 8 1/2 x 11".
The typed letter is accompanied by a separate manuscript note, dated October 1933, which reads, rather ominously, "Dear Son, Greetings from the South Pole. I hope I am alive till thee gets this. Love, Dad". 5 1/2 x 3".
Together with an official color souvenir map of the expedition, 'Authorized Map of the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition' with a pictorial title cartouche with portrait of Byrd. A promotional piece by General Foods, copyright 1934.
Included is a real picture post card of the Antarctic Snow Cruiser (a.k.a. "Penguin 1"), which Poulter later developed and which was to be used in Antarctica. Postcard by Fralick Photo, No. B6, 508 Faurot Bldg, Lima, Ohio. The "Penguin I" looks very futuristic indeed, tremendously elongated & low, with huge tires, which have not succeeded in getting it out of the creek. The pencilled inscription dates this as "October 28, 1939, vehicle for Byrd's U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition, 1939-41" Very good condition. Item #22658