1934. A fascinating archive of 13 real b&w photographs of the second Antarctic expedition in which Byrd had planned to spend 6 months alone gathering weather data, and instead almost succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.
This is a group of images (some of which are printed in Byrd's work 'Discovery'), which captures the human perspective of this daunting expedition. Thomas Poulter, E.J. Demas, and Amory Waite led a rescue mission for Byrd, whose increasingly bizarre radio transmissions from his meteorological station alerted them to his condition.
The carbon monoxide poisoning was the result of a poor ventilation due to a defective stovepipe. Byrd recorded the story of this event in "Alone"; it is based on his diaries and describes his struggle to survive physically and mentally.
The photographs include: a sweeping landscape snap shot showing tents and dog sleds in the middle of an enormous ice field captioned in pencil on verso, "20 miles from our goal. Picture taken with infra red film. Russell".
Another shows 2 members detonating explosives to take seismic soundings, captioned with typed label on verso: "R217 Charge of 50 lbs. TNT on high barrier". The word TNT has been struck through and the word [Trejim] powder written in.
A bird's eye view of the tractor team is taken from the Condor (Curtis-Wright Condor, a twin-engine long-range biplane, named the 'William Horlick') shows the wing of the plane and the tiny team down below on the ice. Captioned in pencil on verso: "Condor flying over tractor party after having landed and showing them the cravice (sic) lying ahead of them.
Other images include: a captioned snap shot "Joe Hill takes a snow bath. Dec 20, 1934" (Hill was a mechanic working with the ice party), the name 'Morgan' written in red pencil on verso; an unnamed expedition member looking through a cosmic ray machine; an image of an unnamed seasick crew member; one of a dog (not a husky); an official expedition photograph of the ship's prow coated in ice, paper label caption on verso, "The ice covered bow of Admiral Byrd's flagship "City of New York"; an official portrait of Byrd captioned "Admiral Byrd in uniform (profile) 1949, and stamped "Official US Navy Photograph"; a photograph of Byrd and a photographic officer stamped on the verso, "R.Adm Richard E. Byrd with Lt. C. C. Shirley, Photographic Officer of Task Force - 68. Official Navy Photo Released". This image is accompanied with its negative in a numbered manila film sleeve. The final image is an undated portrait of Byrd seated at a desk in a naval building, in uniform with white naval cap (ca. 1940s)
The archive of 13 photographs measures:
4 images, approx. 5 3/4 x 4"; 2 images measure approx. 8 x 6"; and 7 images measure approx. 9 1/2 x 8". All in very good condition.
A remarkable visual record of Byrd's Second Antarctic Expedition. Very good condition. Item #24830