Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Robert Abram Bartlett Papers

LibraryGeorge J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives


Robert Abram Bartlett Papers, 1888-1946 (bulk 1930-1946).



29.0 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M8

Agency History / Biographical Note:
"Captain Bob" Bartlett (1875-1946), of Brigus, Nfld., began his Arctic career as mate on the "Windward" voyage of 1898-99, led by Robert E. Peary (Bowd. 1877), and later helped design Peary's "Roosevelt," which he captained on the 1908-09 North Pole expedition. In 1913-14, Bartlett commanded Vilhjalmur Stefansson's ill-fated "Karluk" which was destroyed in the pack ice; walking alone to Siberia, he returned with a rescue party. He led the Crocker Land Relief Expedition (1917) to rescue Donald B. MacMillan (Bowd. 1898), stranded in Greenland. He was Marine Superintendant for the U.S. Army Transport Service during World War I, and, among other duties, transported troops as Lt. Commander, U.S.N.R., during World War II.

Bartlett owned the "Effie M. Morrissey" and commanded its mostly student crew on annual expeditions (1926-46) making hydrographic studies and collecting museum specimens under the auspices of the Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Natural History of Philadelphia, the American Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Society and other major institutions.

Captain Bartlett's published books include The Log of Bob Bartlett (1928), The Last Voyage of the Karluk (1916), and Sails Over Ice (1934). He received an honorary A.M. from Bowdoin in 1920.

Scope and Content:
The collection contains correspondence, documents, articles, speeches, clippings, photographs, logs, and other material dealing mostly with the "Morrissey" years. Bartlett was in contact with prominent explorers, journalists, museum curators, naval officers and industrial figures, among them: Richard Evelyn Byrd, Frank Michler Chapman, Colby Mitchell Chester, Samuel Bayard Colgate, Eugene DuPont, Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Melville Bell Grosvenor, Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, George Palmer Putnam, Marie Peary Stafford, Vilhjamur Stefansson, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Lowell Thomas and Russell Randolph Waesche. Although there are over 3500 letters in the collection, there are few extensive exchanges. Only the following individuals are represented by 25 or more letters: Robert Rudolph Morgan Carpenter, Vice President of DuPont; William Herbert Hobbs, geologist at the University of Michigan; John K. Howard of Boston; Arthur James Manice and David Clark Nutt, who travelled on the "Morrissey"; Waldo L. Schmitt, a curator at the Smithsonian; Nina Smith, lecture manager; Reynolds Spriggs, Columbian Rope Co.; and Fred C. Wurtz, Welch Grape Juice Co.

General note: Diaries, Journals, and Logs: "Morrissey 1941" log available on microfilm; George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Me.; 1 microfilm reel.

Cite as: Robert Abram Bartlett papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: None.

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