The Papers of Alden Todd in the Dartmouth College LibraryWMST Mss-192

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Todd, Alden
Title Remainder: Papers. 1958-1969
Dates: 1958-1969
Identification: Mss-192


1918 Born in Washington, D.C., on January 12, the son of Laurence Todd and Constance (Leupp) Todd.
1935 Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.
1935-1936 Attended Princeton University.
1939 Graduated (B.A.) from Swarthmore College.
1941 Married Jeanette Goldman.
1943-1946 Served with 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army.
1946-1955 Reporter and foreign correspondent.
1956- Free-lance writer of non-fiction.
1960 “Ordeal in the Arctic” published in American Heritage.
1961 Abandoned published.
1964 Justice on Trial: the Case of Louis D. Brandeis published.
1965 Won the Gavel Award of the American Bar Association.
1966 A Spark Lighted in Portland published.
1967 Richard Montgomery: Rebel of 1775 published.
1972 Finding Facts Fast published.
1979 New edition of Finding Facts Fast published.


The papers of Alden Todd in the Dartmouth College Library are concerned with his writing of Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition, 1881-1884 and some minor works on the same subject. This expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely and officially known as the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, was dispatched by the United States Army to establish one of the circumpolar weather stations planned by the International Polar Conferences of 1879 and 1880. Greely's station was located at Fort Conger in Grinnell Land, a northern section of Ellesmere Island. The expedition was successful in the gathering of meteorological and other scientific data and in the exploration and mapping of a large unknown area. Lt. James B. Lockwood and two others reached latitude 83° 24′ North, breaking the record for “Farthest North,” which had long been held by a succession of British explorers. The expedition ended in disaster, however, because relief ships did not reach the party or cache adequate supplies during the summers of 1882 and 1883. Greely led his men south in the fall of 1883 to Cape Sabine, where they established camp to await a ship in 1884; but before relief finally came, eighteen of the twenty-five men were dead, mostly from starvation. This is the story that Todd has skillfully told in Abandoned, using some previously unused sources and exposing the indifference and blundering of those who planned and led the first two relief attempts.

Alden Todd (This is his full name; A. L. Todd is his pen name.) is a free-lance writer of several non-fiction books and many articles, who has also worked as a reporter, teacher, and editor. He is a painstaking researcher, and research for Abandoned is the subject of much of the correspondence in this collection, most of the rest of it dealing with reviews and publicity. There is some correspondence with readers. By-products of Todd's research are three articles for journals, which are included in the collection, along with Abandoned and its magazine condensation. Abandoned was widely and favorably reviewed, and a large sample of the reviews is included. (See the review by Gordon W. Smith from Arctic for a good introduction to the Greely Expedition and Abandoned.)

This collection of papers is a gift of Alden Todd in 1983, and there are no restrictions on its use. More of Todd's correspondence can be found in the papers of David L. Brainard, a survivor of the Greely Expedition, and in the Stefansson Correspondence.



The Explorers Club: correspondence concerning manuscripts, owned by the club, of Octave Pavy and George W. Rice and also an article written by Todd for Explorers Journal, 1959-1961. Includes a pamphlet describing the club.


Greely, Rose: correspondence mostly about A. W. Greely's papers and their disposition, 1959-1960.


McVickar, Elinor G. (Mrs. Donald L.): correspondence concerning the papers of David L. Brainard, survivor of the Greely Arctic Expedition and stepfather of Mrs. McVickar, 1959-1960.


New York Herald-Tribune (Editor, Book Review): letter from Todd about Jeanette Mirsky's review of Abandoned. Includes copy of review, clipping of published letter and Mirsky's reply, and a list of errors in the part of Mirsky's To The Arctic dealing with the Greely Expedition. 1961.


Newburyport, Massachusetts, Homecoming: correspondence with Frank M. Dalton, 1969. Includes program of the 12th Annual Yankee Homecoming, which featured a re-enactment of Greely's return, and three accounts in The Daily News, Newburyport, July and August, 1969.


Nova Scotia Travel Bureau: correspondence about the Bear, one of the vessels of Schley's party that rescued Greely, 1960. Includes “The Ship that Wouldn't Die,” from Maclean's Magazine, December 6, 1958.


Scheips, Paul J. (U.S. Signal Corps Historical Division): letter from Scheips, “comments on Abandoned...with a view to a second edition, as requested,” 1961.


Stefansson Collection: correspondence primarily concerning research for Abandoned and Vilhjalmur Stefansson's introduction to Abandoned. Includes letters from Todd, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Evelyn Stefansson, Mary (Mrs. R. E.) Fellows, and Nancy C. Hildick, 1959-1961.


Sullivan, Walter, 1961. Includes clipping of New York Times review of Sullivan's Assault on the Unknown, 1961.

FOLDER : 10.

Correspondence with readers, including several descendents of men connected with the Greely Arctic Expedition. 1960-1962.

FOLDER : 11.

Correspondence about research on the Greely Arctic Expedition. 1958-1961.

FOLDER : 12.

Correspondence with reviewers, much of it Todd's letters pointing out local references and significance, 1961.

FOLDER : 13.

Other correspondence concerning Abandoned, 1959-1961.


FOLDER : 14.

Abandoned: The Story of The Greely Arctic Expedition 1881-1884. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961. Copy signed by author, “A. L. Todd.”

FOLDER : 15.

Abandoned. Condensed in True, March, 1961.

FOLDER : 16.

Abandoned. Photographs: five prints, two of which appear in Abandoned; three are by George W. Rice.

FOLDER : 17.

Abandoned. Prospectus: typescript, 1959.

FOLDER : 18.

Abandoned. Review by Gordon W. Smith, from Arctic, June, 1961.

FOLDER : 19.

Abandoned. Review by Dr. George Raynor Thompson (Chief, Signal Corps Historical Division): typescript with cover letter and clippings of review from U.S. Army publications, 1961.

FOLDER : 20.

Abandoned. Reviews: clippings and photocopies from Cosmos Club Bulletin, Military Medicine, New York Herald-Tribune, New York Times, New Yorker, Time, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, and The Washington Post, 1961

FOLDER : 21.

Abandoned. Reviews and notices: clippings and photocopies of a representative sample, 1961.

FOLDER : 22.

“Edward Israel: Michigan's Arctic Pioneer,” from Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review, Spring, 1961

FOLDER : 23.

“Greely, and The Birth of The Explorers Club,” in Explorers Journal, February, 1961. Includes typed transcription of letters quoted in the article.

FOLDER : 24.

“Ordeal in the Arctic,” in American Heritage, June, 1960.

FOLDER : 25.

“Ordeal in the Arctic,” clippings of condensations (The Best from American Heritage) from the Long Island Press, Oakland Tribune, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1961.

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