Polar Libraries Prize
The Nansen Photographs volume tells the story of Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen and the Fram expedition.
Fridtjof Nansen (1861 – 1930) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 “for his leading role in the repatriation of prisoners of war, in international relief work and as the League of Nations' High Commissioner for refugees.”
Nansen gained prominence at various points in his life as an explorer, scientist, diplomat, and humanitarian. He led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis. He won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during the Fram expedition of 1893—1896.
Fram expedition of 1893—1896.
Nansen's Fram expedition of 1893–1896 was an attempt to reach the geographical North Pole by harnessing the natural east–west current of the Arctic Ocean. Nansen took his ship Framto the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Arctic Ocean, froze her into the pack ice, and waited for the drift to carry her towards the pole. Impatient with the slow speed and erratic character of the drift, after 18 months Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen, left the ship with a team of Samoyed dogs and sledges and made for the pole. They did not reach it, but they achieved a record Farthest North latitude of 86°13.6′N before a long retreat over ice and water to reach safety in Franz Josef Land.
Although it did not achieve the objective of reaching the North Pole, the Fram expedition made major geographical and scientific discoveries. Sir Clements Markham, president of Britain's Royal Geographical Society, declared that the expedition had resolved "the whole problem of Arctic geography."
Fram is preserved as a museum ship at the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.
William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books to The Nansen Photographs
The William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books was established in memory of William Mills, a polar librarian and author, and a core member of Polar Libraries Colloquy during its formative years.
The Nansen Photographsby Geir O. Kløver, director of the Fram Museum, tells the story of Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his ground-breaking effort to reach the North Pole in the specially designed polarship Fram. The story starts when the plan for the expedition was launched in 1890 and continues until the end of Nansen’s international lecture tour in 1897. The book shows how Nansen selected the cameras for the expedition, and photographs and information about the cameras themselves supplement this part.
The book includes the construction of Fram and five different sets of drawings of the vessel from the initial proposal to the final version.
The main elements of the book are every single recovered photograph taken during the expedition together with personal diary entries from Nansen and seven of his crew members about the situation when the photographs were taken. This brings new life to previously known photographs and introduces the reader to hundreds of unknown photographs from the expedition.
The return to Norway and the spectacular celebration along the entire Norwegian coast from Vardø in the north to Kristiansand and Kristiania (Oslo) in the south is told in detail through photographs, newspaper reports, speeches, menus and ephemera.
The 712-page book contains 850 photographs and illustrations, 35 ship drawings and 25 maps.
The Fram was designed and built by the Scottish-Norwegian shipwright Colin Archer fin which the plan was to freeze Fram into the Arctic ice sheet and float with it over the North Pole.
Nansen, Fridtjof (1897). Farthest North, Volumes I and II. London: Archibald Constable & Co.
Jones, Max (1 March 2021). "Exploration, Celebrity, and the Making of a Transnational Hero: Fridtjof Nansen and the Fram Expedition". The Journal of Modern History. 93 (1): 68–108.
William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books. Polar Libraries Colloquy.
Kløver Geir O and Fridtjof Nansen. 2021. The Nansen Photographs. 1. ed. Oslo Norway: Fram Museum.
Guided tour through Fram with director Geir O. Kløver.
I have always considered the Fram story as the quintessential refutation of characterizing early efforts as "failures." They are anything but. They often provide mankind's first sight of what is possible. And, those are successes.
I made my own journey to the pole under somewhat different circumstances. Nonetheless, the environment was precisely the same and equally dangerous. We lived in modified tents on the trek from the northern tip of Ellesmere island. Life changing it was, without doubt. I was eighteen: https://aspiritquest.substack.com/p/to-the-north-pole-i-went