Dear Antarctican

by Leonie
Publish date
16 March 2011
Comments (1)

This post comes from Leonie Cash, a librarian at the Museum Victoria library.

The MV Library received one of 150 invitations sent for a worldwide gathering of book collectors, librarians, archivists, and historians known as The Antarctic Circle. This group is united by their interest in the art and history of Antarctic studies.

The meeting in New Hampshire is organised by Robert Stephenson, a retired Harvard professor and founder of The Antarctic Circle. Unfortunately we can't attend the meeting, but Robert visited us recently to inspect MV's copy of Aurora Australis. This book is one of 90 copies printed under harsh conditions in Antarctica in 1907-08 during Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod expedition.

Robert and Leonie Founder of The Antarctic Circle, Robert Stephenson, and MV librarian, Leonie Cash, with MV's copy of Aurora Australis.
Source: The Antarctic Circle

Robert has visited libraries and personal collectors around the world comparing copies of Aurora Australis and the individual features of each copy are painstakingly recorded on The Antarctic Circle website. Each Aurora Australis is unique; the book was bound with covers made from wooden packing-cases which contained the expedition's provisions. The MV copy is stencilled CHICKEN and is signed by Ernest Shackleton and George Marston. We also have the 1988 facsimile edition in the Rare Books Collection of the library.

Details of Aurora Australia Details of MV's copy of Aurora Australia. Left: signatures of Ernest Shackleton and George Marston. Right: the inside back cover reads 'CHICKEN' from the original packing crate.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Pages from Aurora Australis Two pages of MV's copy of Aurora Australis.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria


The Antarctic Circle

Details of MV's copy on The Antactic Circle

MV News: Library Week rare book viewing

Comments (1)

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Rowena Flynn 17 March, 2011 14:33
Wonderful book and worth investigating for the illustrations and prints which are beautifully constructed and also slightly bizarre and whimsical. Check out the strange giant mushroom illustrations.
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