The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911. Robert Falcon SCOTT, Ernest H. SHACKLETON, Louis BERNACCHI,  Apsley CHERRY-GARRARD, of the three volumes respectively.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.

The South Polar Times.
The South Polar Times. Volume I, April to August 1902; Volume II, April to August 1903; Volume III, April to October 1911.

London: Smith, Elder, 1907; 1907; 1914.

Three volumes, quarto, with numerous coloured illustrations throughout; in the original blue cloth with coloured vignette onlays on front covers, spines lettered in gilt, gilt edges, in fine condition.

"Every single person on the continent of Antarctica read it"

A superb set in fine condition of this remarkable book, containing copy number 211 (of just 250 published) of the first two volumes, and copy number 37 (of 350 published) of the third volume. The meticulously produced book is an evocative exact reproduction, unedited and unrevised, of the original single copy of the "South Polar Times", written and produced by the members of Scott's first and second expeditions for their own entertainment and diversion during the long Antarctic winters. The first two volumes were created on the Discovery in 1902 and 1903, edited by Ernest Shackleton and Louis Bernacchi, and published in this form in 1907. The matching third volume, edited by Apsley Cherry-Garrard and shared on the Terra Nova in 1911, was published in 1914.

A superb set in fine condition of this remarkable book, containing copy number 211 (of just 250 published) of the first two volumes, and copy number 37 (of 350 published) of the third volume. The meticulously produced book is an evocative exact reproduction, unedited and unrevised, of the original single copy of the "South Polar Times", written and produced by the members of Scott's first and second expeditions for their own entertainment and diversion during the long Antarctic winters. The first two volumes were created on the Discovery in 1902 and 1903, edited by Ernest Shackleton and Louis Bernacchi, and published in this form in 1907. The matching third volume, edited by Apsley Cherry-Garrard and shared on the Terra Nova in 1911, was published in 1914.

As Robin McKie wrote in the English newspaper The Observer, the South Polar Times "had the lowest possible circulation for any newspaper in the world. Only one copy of each edition was ever printed. Yet the South Polar Times had a readership that would bring tears to the eye of a media mogul. Every single person on the continent of Antarctica read it. For good measure, the paper also had a startlingly impressive list of editors that included polar exploration leader Ernest Shackleton as well as Apsley Cherry-Garrard, author of the travel classic The Worst Journey in the World".

The article continues, "By any reckoning, the paper was an extraordinary publication… Each paper – which ran from 30 to 50 pages – includes photographs, features, caricatures of officers and men, whimsical observations of life in Antarctica, cartoons, weather reports and a range of breathtaking watercolours of the polar landscape – most of them works by zoologist Edward Wilson, Scott's deputy, and a painter of considerable talent… Written a century ago, the papers are also intriguing historical documents in their own right, including popular music-hall songs rewritten with new lyrics; a pastiche of Walt Whitman's poetry; and an account of their own expedition as recently decoded papyrus leaves – a spoof on the great Rosetta Stone controversy.

"The South Polar Times was produced by the men of Robert Scott's two journeys to Antarctica: the Discovery expedition of 1901–04, and the Terra Nova expedition of 1910–13. (Each journey was named after the ship that took Scott's teams to Antarctica.) Regular journals on long voyages were a Royal Navy tradition and Scott was determined to keep it up. Among the boxes of cargo brought by his ships, Scott included a typewriter, reams of good quality paper and art supplies. In the end, 12 issues of the Times were produced: eight from the first of Scott's trips to the Antarctic and four from his second, ill-fated expedition.

"All are marked by their jollity and would have provided a welcome diversion for the men during the long, dark austral winters. However, it is the last issue of the South Polar Times that provides the most touching copy. It was written and produced in June 1912, by which time Cherry-Garrard and the rest of the men living in the expedition hut of Ross Island knew that Scott and his four companions – Wilson, Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans and Lawrence Oates – were dead. Their supplies would have run out weeks earlier. They still produced the Times, but there is no mention of the fact that Scott and the polar team were missing. Yet their absence would been like an elephant in the room…".

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Renard, 1433; Rosove, 287.A1 and 291.A1; Spence, 1094; Taurus, 42.

Condition Report: Other than extremely minor bumping to a couple of corners of the binding this is in superb condition.

Ref: #5000559

Condition Report