3. Nineteenth-Century Images of North Polar Exploration

Many attempts were made to reach the North Pole during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, by ship, balloon, and dirigible, but all failed until Robert Peary (1856–1920) reached the pole in April 1909 with dog sledges. The race for the pole coincided with new printing technologies that permitted the widespread distribution of evocative and dramatic pictures of Arctic exploration in the periodical press [items 26-28]. (Earlier in the nineteenth century, images still had to be laboriously printed from copper plates and then colored by hand: item 29). The profusion of imagery by century’s end led to their use, to powerful effect, in advertising as well [item 30].


26. H. W. Klutschak

“The American Franklin Search Expedition. Noonday Rest of Lieutenant Schwatka’s Party under Divide Hill”

From: Illustrated London News (January 1, 1881): 20–21


27. Harper’s Weekly

“Afloat on the Ice—Captain Tyson and His Companions Adrift in the Arctic Regions”

From: Harper’s Weekly17, no. 857 (May 31, 1873)


28. Illustrated London News

“North-West Passage: H.M.S. ‘Erebus’ and ‘Terror,’ 1849–1850. ‘They Forged the Last Link with Their Lives’”

From: The Graphic (July 25, 1896): 112–13


29. Carl Joseph Brodtmann

“Der Eisbär. Ursus Maritimus”

From: Naturhistorische Bilder-Gallerie aus dem Thierreiche (Lindau, ca. 1816)


30. Advertisement for Cadbury’s Cocoa “In the Arctic Regions”

From: Illustrated London News (February 22, 1896): 247