1 vols. 4to. Incredible Memento Of Peary's North Pole Expedition. Embossed and colored pictorial gilt binding featuring three pictorial panels in a figural acanthus border, gilt turn-ins, aeg Item #315967
This elaborately bound volume of guest autographs was commissioned for the yacht Sheelah, owned by millionaire industrialist Charles Ross (1848-1913). Originally from Scotland, Ross emigrated to North America in 1868 and built a fortune as a railway engineer, settling finally in Montreal. In 1912, this book was transferred to another yacht, the Glencain, previously the Liberty. Ross bought this magnificent yacht on the death of Joseph Pulitzer -- at a crew of 65 people, it was one of the largest in the world.
The steam yacht Sheelah welcomed Commander Peary home off the coast of Sydney, Nova Scotia, the port from which he had originally departed the year prior. On September 20, 1909, the Sheelah put to sea carrying Mrs. Peary, her daughter, Miss Marie Peary, Robert E. Peary Jr, and friends, including Col. Borup, father of George Borup, one of the expedition members, and George Kennan, author, and John Kehl, the United States consul at Sydney. All have signed the book on September 20, 1909 under the heading: "On board 'Sheelah' to meet Commander Peary on 'Roosevelt' on their return from North Pole." Peary has signed the book on the following page, and has dated his signature September 21, 1909, just two weeks after reaching Indian Harbor, Labrador and announcing to the world that he had reached the Pole.
In addition, the page prior to Peary's family includes signatures of H.L. Bridgman, Secretary of the Peary Arctic Club, and Frederick Cook, here identified in early pencil as "Correspondent for the London Times" rather than Peary's rival for a claim to the Pole.
This book goes above and beyond the Peary provenance, however. Beginning on January 26, 1906, in Naples, where the book was likely purchased, it includes 35 leaves of signatures, including two Governor Generals of Canada, accounts of visits to Bermuda, St. Lucia, Monte Carlo, and Gibraltar. On Ross's death, the yacht was bought by Robert Houston, and the final entry in the guest book includes the signature of Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII.
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