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Rauner Special Collections Library6065 Webster Hall, Hanover, NH 03755-3519 USATelephone: 603-646-0538, Fax:

The Papers of Russell W. Porter at Dartmouth College

WMST Mss-118

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Porter, Russell W.
Title Remainder: Papers. 1894-1932
Dates: 1894-1932
Identification: Mss-118

Administrative Information

The processing of this collection was supported by a Title II-C grant from the U.S. Department of Education


.5 lin. ft.


Born in Springfield, Vt., in 1871, Russell Porter studied architecture at M.I.T. Inspired by a talk given by Peary on Arctic explorations, Porter was “inocculated...with the virus of `arctic fever',... a desire to see for myself what lay beyond the Circle.” He accompanied Frederick Cook on the Miranda, which sank off the coast of Greenland. He travelled with Peary on trips to Greenland in 1896, and to Baffin Land in 1897. Porter was a member of the two Ziegler Polar Expeditions; his primary responsibility was astronomical observations. When the relief ship did not arrive in 1903, he was put in charge of the camp at Cape Flora, and spent two years in Franz Joseph Land. Porter's last journey to the North was in 1906 as a member of Cook's party to Mt. McKinley.

In the later years Porter's work focused on designing and building telescopes. He was an expert in optics, and worked twenty years on the 200-inch Palomar telescope.

The papers of Russell Porter include drafts of “Arctic Fever”, his unpublished book, and prints of his sketches to accompany the text. A typescript copy of his diary, kept during the Ziegler Expeditions, is full of detail and interesting incidents. Autobilgraphical notes, written when he was 75, summarize the highlights of his life in the Arctic. These papers will be of particular interest to those studying Frederick Cook of the Ziegler Polar Expeditions. His sketches portray a personal involvement with Polar exploration and give an important added dimension to the collection.



Arctic Fever (Ten years of it) 1894, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1901-2, 1903-5, 1906

Typescript with holograph revisions


Chapter I 1894. Greenland (Cook)

Chapter II 1896. Greenland (Peary)

Chapter III 1897. Baffin Land


Chapter IV 1898. British Columbia

Chapter V 1899

Chapter VI 1900. Greenland (Peary)

Chapter VII 1901-2. Baldwin-Ziegler Polar Expedition


Chapter VIII 1903-4. Fiala-Ziegler Polar Expedition

Chapter IX 1904-5. Fiala-Ziegler Polar Expedition


Chapter X 1906. Mount McKinley (Cook)

Chapter XI 1907-1932

Revised typescript


Chapters I - VII


Chapters VIII - XI

Prints from sketches to accompany text. Original sketches are in the Center for Polar Archives, Washington, D.C.

FOLDER : 7-9.

Diary of the Fiala-Ziegler Polar Expedition, 1902-1905

FOLDER : 10-12.

“Carbon of a typed copy of Porter's diary, with manuscript corrections, was given by him to Stefansson in 1946.”



FOLDER : 13.

“Frobisher Bay revisited” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 1898. “With compliments of the author”

Biographical information

FOLDER : 14.

“Autobiographical notes”

15 1.

FOLDER : 15.

Newsclippings - obituaries


FOLDER : 16.

(The Hope?) Ship

Man (Porter?) using navigational instrument

FOLDER : 17.

Color reproductions of two Porter paintings. With inscriptions to Stefansson from Edward W. Miller and John C. Pierce



6 watercolors by Porter, with explanatory note by John C. Pierce