Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Miriam MacMillan Collection, 1862-1987, n.d. (bulk 1900-1987)

Miriam MacMillan Collection, 1862-1987, n.d. (bulk 1900-1987)



14.2 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M119

Series List:

Agency History / Biographical Note:
Miriam Look was born in Clinton, Massachusetts, in 1905, a daughter of Moses Jerome Look, a civil engineer, and his second wife, Amy G. Wood Look. In 1935, Miriam married Donald B. MacMillan (Bowdoin 1898), a friend of her father. The marriage was a childless one, but the MacMillans helped raise Helga Knudsen, the daughter of their friend Aage Knudsen.

Miriam MacMillan accompanied her husband on nine of his Arctic expeditions aboard the schooner Bowdoin, where she was responsible for the food supplies, the supplies for the MacMillan-Moravian School for Eskimo children (founded by her husband in Nain, in northern Labrador, in 1929), and other expedition preparations. In addition, she took most of the photographs and videofilms of life in Labrador, Baffin Island, Ellesmere Island, and Greenland, and wrote extensive notes on every trip, which she used later to write her published accounts of her experiences: Green Seas and White Ice (1948), Etuk, the Eskimo Hunter (1950), and Kudla and His Polar Bear (1953). She also wrote articles for magazines, including National Geographic and Yachting.

Miriam MacMillan was the Curator of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College (1970-1973), Associate Curator (1973-1987); and received honorary degrees from Nasson College (1960) and from Bowdoin (1980).

After the death of her husband in 1970, Mrs. MacMillan moved to Owl's Head, Maine, to live with her friends, Dr. and Mrs. Edward Morse. She died in 1987.

Scope and Content:
The collection consists of materials concerning Miriam and Donald MacMillan acquired from Miriam's estate, including their personal correspondence. Items pertaining to Donald MacMillan include correspondence, journals and diaries relating to the North Pole (1908-1909) and Crocker Land expeditions (1913-1917), manuscript drafts, and lecture schedules. Miriam MacMillan's materials include correspondence, manuscript drafts, notebooks and diaries kept during her Arctic voyages, and scrapbooks chronicling her husband's achievements. Also included are materials concerning the schooner Bowdoin.

Cite as: Miriam MacMillan Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.

Access Restrictions: No restrictions.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288