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Shackleton papers acquired for the nation

Shackleton papers acquired for the nation

Press release - 26th September 2001

We are pleased to inform you that with considerable assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Institute's own MacDonald Fund, the Scott Polar Research Institute has been successful in acquiring the Endurance diary of Dr Alexander Hepburne Macklin (Christie's, lot 195) and the Archive of Shackleton's Quest expedition (lot 232), at the Christie's Polar Sale in London on 25 September 2001.

Macklin's diary covers the period from the abandonment of Shackleton's ship Endurance in October 1915 through to his return to London. It is one of the most important sources on the period during which the expedition was forced to live on an Antarctic ice flow through to Elephant Island, when Macklin was one of twenty-two marooned on this exceptionally desolate island for 105 days whilst Shackleton famously went for help in South Georgia. The Quest Archive includes Shackleton's death certificate and Macklin's description of his death in a large collection of papers from Shackleton's comparatively little-known last expedition. With these papers in the Institute's Archives, there will be every opportunity for historians to gain a clearer understanding of this still under-appreciated expedition. Robert Dufton, Head of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: "The National Heritage Memorial Fund is delighted to have been able to help the Scott Polar Research Institute to acquire such important historical records from these Antarctic expeditions. Shackleton's heroic leadership is well known and inspires us all today. The Macklin Diary and Archive illustrate the steadfastness and courage of all men who took part in the Polar expeditions of 1915 and 1921."

We wish to thank all those whose help enabled us to make these purchases.

For further information, please ring Robert Headland, Archivist and Curator, 01223-336555.