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The Papers of Robert Abram (Bob) Bartlett in the Dartmouth College LibraryWMST Mss-193

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bartlett, Robert Abram (Bob)
Title Remainder: Papers. 1911-1958
Dates: 1911-1958
Identification: Mss-193


This chronology, with the exception of the entries for the three books that Bartlett wrote, and the following one of the voyages of the Effie M. Morrissey are from George Palmer Putnam's Mariner of the North: The Life of Captain Bob Bartlett, New York, 1947.

1875 Robert Abram Bartlett born, August 15, at Brigus, Newfoundland, son of Mary J. (Leamon) and William James Bartlett.
1880-1899 Summer fishing and winter sealing; Brigus High School; Methodist College, St. John's; deepwater voyages as seaman, second mate, and mate, preparing for master's papers.
1897-1899 Wintered with Peary in Kane Basin.
1901 Hunting expedition, Hudson Strait.
1901-1905 Captain Newfoundland sealers.
1905 Passed examination for Master of British Ships, Halifax.
1905-1909 Commanded Peary's ship, the Roosevelt.
1909 Accompanied Peary on the dash to the Pole, reaching eighty-eighth parallel.
1910 Hunting expedition to Kane Basin.
1913-1914 Commanded the Karluk on Stefansson's Canadian Government Arctic expedition.
1916 The Last Voyage of the “Karluk” published.
1917 Commanded third Crocker Land Relief expedition to North Greenland.
1917 In Army Transport Service, New York City, as marine superintendent.
1925 Aircraft base survey in Northwest Alaska and Arctic Ocean for the National Geographic Society.
1926-1945 Expeditions on the schooner Morrissey.
1928 The Log of “Bob” Bartlett published.
1934 Sails Over Ice published.
1946 Died, April 28, New York City.


In fame, in distance covered, probably no other vessel of today used solely for exploratory voyaging can rival the schooner Effie M. Morrissey. It is therefore of interest to present a chronological record of her voyages with Captain Bartlett.

Beyond her early work in the fisheries off Newfoundland, there were, after her purchase in 1925, twenty separate cruises from New York, where Bartlett made his headquarters. No one of these covered less than 6000 miles, many approximated 10,000, and one exceeded 20,000 miles. In all, the Morrissey must have traveled well over 150,000 miles, to many far places in the North, under the auspices of many different groups, for many purposes. This, without taking into account all the blue water she traversed in the twenty-five years when she was fishing out of Gloucester.

The chronology that follows is made from Captain Bartlett's own records, and has been compared with other available sources, and checked by members of the Bartlett family, especially by Rupert Bartlett of St. John's.

1926 American Museum Greenland expedition to North Greenland. Auspices of the American Museum of Natural History. Leader: George Palmer Putnam. Took University of Michigan party under Professor William H. Hobbs to Holstenberg and return.
1927 To western Baffin Island. Auspices of the American Geographical Society, Museum of the American Indian, and the Heye Foundation. Leader: George Palmer Putnam.
1928 Stroll-McCracken Siberian Arctic expedition to the Aleutian Islands, Bering Strait, and the Arctic. Auspices of the American Museum of Natural History. Leaders: Charles H. Stoll and Harold McCracken.
1929 Labrador Motion Picture expedition along the Labrador coast. Leader: Maurice Kellerman.
1930 Northeast Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Museum of the American Indian. (On this, and on most subsequent expeditions, groups of boys were along.)
1931 Norcross-Bartlett expedition to Northeast Greenland. In cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution, Heye Foundation, American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Botanical Gardens.
1932 Peary Memorial expedition. Erected monument to Robert E. Peary at Cape York, Greenland.
1933 Bartlett Northwest Greenland expedition, through Hudson Strait and across Foxe Basin to the Strait of Fury and Hecla. In Cooperation with the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the American Indian, American Geographical Society, and the Navy Department.
1934 Expedition to Greenland and Ellesmere Land, making scientific collections. Auspices of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.
1935 Northwest Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Field Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.
1936 Bartlett Northeast Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, American Geographical Society, Chicago Zoological Society, and the Field Museum.
1937 Bartlett Northwest Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Zoological Society.
1938 Northwest Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the United States National Museum.
1939 Northeast Greenland expedition. In cooperation with the New York Zoological Society and the Smithsonian Institution. (On this trip was established the Morrissey's farthest north for the East Coast, at 77° 15′.)
1940 Northwest Greenland expedition. Auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, Vassar College, and the Navy Department. (On this voyage the Morrissey encountered unusual ice conditions in the polar region and succeeded in passing the “American Gateway to the Pole,” reaching the Roosevelt's winter quarters of 1909, and establishing her farthest north at 80° 33′.)
1941 Northwest Greenland expedition. Carried out with the cooperation of Louise A. Boyd, who undertook assignments for the United States Government.
1942 United States Government expedition to Frobisher Bay.
1943 United States Government expedition to perform survey work for military establishments in the Hudson Strait region.
1944 United States Government expedition servicing military and weather establishments in southern Greenland and on the east coast of Greenland.
1945 United States Government expedition servicing military bases on the northwest coast of Greenland.


These papers of Robert Abram (Bob) Bartlett consist of correspondence, two inscribed books, typescripts of three radio talks, and a few miscellaneous papers from the latter half of Bartlett's long career of Arctic sailing and exploration. Bartlett, born into a family of Newfoundland mariners in 1875, began sailing before he finished high school and completed his last cruise in 1945, just months before his death in 1946. After his early years of sealing, he commanded Robert E. Peary's Roosevelt and Vilhjlamur Stefansson's Karluk. In 1925 he acquired his own schooner, the Effie M. Morrissey, which he took on Arctic expeditions of one sort or another every year until he died.

During the depression years, the 1930s, Bartlett used many methods to finance his cruises. In addition to the fees and contributions from scientific institutions for which he carried out commissions, he caught animals for zoos, photographed for Pathe News, and shipped boys as paying, but working, passengers; during the winters he wrote, lectured, and showed his films. These activities brought him into contact with Greville A. G. Haslam, to whom many of the letters in this collection were written and one copy of the book, The Log of “Bob” Bartlett, inscribed. Haslam (1891-1967) was the Headmaster of the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, where Bartlett lectured and recruited boys for his cruises, and he shared Bartlett's interest in exploration, being a member of the Royal Geographical Society, a world traveller, and the author of several papers for geographical journals.

Much of the correspondence is with James B. Pond and the Pond Lecture Bureau during the years 1929-1933. Pond was agent for many explorers and other well-known lecturers during the 1920s and 1930s and arranged all the details of their lecture tours. The letters here deal for the most part with invitations, fees, contracts, and transportation schedules, giving an insight into the problems faced by Bartlett and other explorers between expeditions. The radio scripts, also from Pond's files, are short accounts by Bartlett of sailing and Arctic experiences.

One letter and the other inscribed book are to Richard Halsey Goddard (1897-1983), professor of astronomy and director of the Shattuck Observatory at Dartmouth College. Goddard had a lifelong interest in the Arctic and spent two and a half years there on expeditions led by Donald B. MacMillan.

In 1941 Bartlett's schooner was commandeered by the United States Government as a supply ship and utility vessel. Bartlett and his crew volunteered to serve on her and spent five years in the Arctic. He and Haslam remained friends, and the few letters here from the 1940s mention some of Bartlett's wartime activities.

This collection was purchased in 1985, and there are no restrictions on its use.


Letter written by Robert A. Bartlett to Ashley L. Cole, 1911.


Letters, telegrams, and card (16) written by Robert A. Bartlett to James B. Pond and employees of the Pond Lecture Bureau, ca. 1929-1933.


Letters to Bartlett from Pond and others at the lecture bureau, carbon copies of typescripts, 1929-1933.


Letters and cards (20) written by Bartlett to Greville A. G. Haslam, ca. 1934-1945.


Letter written by Bartlett to Richard H. Goddard, ca. March 6, 1939.


Radio talk: “The Kind Eskimo,” carbon copies (2) of a typescript, from the files of the Pond Lecture Bureau.


Radio talk: “My Experiences on My Trip to Bahia, South America,” carbon copies (2) of a typescript, from the files of the Pond Lecture Bureau.


Radio talk: “The Story of Maureen and Shannon,” carbon copies (2) of a typescript, from the files of the Pond Lecture Bureau.


American Tobacco Company invoice for delivery of cigarettes and smoking tobacco to the Effie M. Morrissey, 1931.

FOLDER : 10.

Notice of the awarding of the Back Grant to Bartlett by the Royal Geographical Society, from The Geographical Journal, July, 1918.

FOLDER : 11.

Captain Robert A. Bartlett, four-page advertising brochure issued by the Nomad Lecture Bureau, ca. 1928, containing photographs of Bartlett, the Effie M. Morrissey, and crew members. Includes an announcement of a lecture by Bartlett in Union City Rotary Spokes (New Jersey), October 20, 1930.

FOLDER : 12.

Interview with Bartlett and photographs of him, Germaine Kellerman, and Eskimos, from the Boston Sunday Post and the New York Times, November 10, 1929.

FOLDER : 13.

Obituary of Bartlett in Hydrographic Bulletin, Washington, D.C., May 4, 1946.

FOLDER : 14.

“How Bob Bartlett Lost the Karluk” by John Euller, from Ships and the Sea, Spring, 1958.

FOLDER : 15.

The Log of “Bob” Bartlett, 1928, inscribed by Bartlett to Greville A. G. Haslam, 1934.

FOLDER : 16.

The Log of “Bob” Bartlett, 1931, inscribed by Bartlett to Richard H. Goddard, 1939.

FOLDER : 17.

“The Sealing Saga of Newfoundland,” from National Geographic Magazine, July, 1929.

FOLDER : 18.

“Peary's Extended Exploration of Arctic Lands Culminating in the Attainment of the North Pole,” photocopy from Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 82, No. 5 (June, 1940)

FOLDER : 19.

Letter (1914) and card (1913) written by Bartlett to Dr. Townsend W. Thorndyke [Thorndike].

FOLDER : 20.

Program for “Complimentary Dinner given to Captain Robert A. Bartlett by Dr. T.W. Thorndike, Feb. 1st, 1915.”

(Coll. 132)





Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1931-1939.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1940.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1941.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1942.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1943.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1944.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1945.


Letters: Bartlett to Hatch, 1946.


Undsted material.


Miscellaneous related material.


Related material - donated by Mr. Harry Dugan, President (June 1977) Bartlett Exploration Assn. (RE: EFFIE M. MORRISSEY, Sch.)

Other Descriptive Data

This copy has been produced from an original manuscrip. [UNK] by G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic [UNK], [UNK]., Mystic, [UNK] and may not be reproduced in any form or by any [UNK] [UNK] without specific [UNK] permission of a duly authorized [UNK] of that institution. Citations must be made to the original manuscript.

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