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Bowdoin College Scientific Expedition to Labrador Collection, 1891-1982, (bulk 1891- 1892)

0.7 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M105

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
In 1891 Bowdoin College organized a scientific expedition to Labrador under the leadership of Professor Leslie A. Lee. Sailing on board the schooner Julia A. Decker out of Rockland, Maine, were twenty-five members, including eighteen Bowdoin students and alumni. The members of the expedition mapped and photographed prehistoric Eskimo settlements, collected fish specimens, doubling the number of previously known species, and discovered plants previously assumed to have never existed in the area.

The expedition may be best known, however, for the discovery of Bowdoin Canyon and the Grand Falls of the Hamilton River by four Bowdoin students. Austin Cary (Bowdoin 1887), Dennis M. Cole (Bowdoin 1888), Warren R. Smith (Bowdoin 1890), and Ernest B. Young (Bowdoin 1892) volunteered to explore the interior of Labrador by canoeing up the Hamilton River for three-hundred miles. Shortly after starting out, however, Smith and Young were forced to abandon their efforts due to injuries. Nevertheless, Cary and Cole continued, ultimately discovering and naming Bowdoin Canon [canyon]. Due to the loss of their canoe, they were forced to walk most of the three hundred miles on their return trip back to the expedition settlement, barely escaping with their lives.

(For more information on the 1891 Labrador Scientific Expedition, see John C. Parker Papers, and also Leslie A. Lee Papers

Scope and Content:
Contains first-hand accounts by several members of the expedition, including Professor Leslie A. Lee's trip log and his observation notes on the Eskimo village of Hopedale, as well as the diaries and journals of several students. Also includes addresses, such as a typescript of Austin Cary's speech before the American Geological Society in 1892, as well as official reports concerning the flora and fauna observed on the expedition by its members and scholars, as well as newspaper clippings from 1891 and afterwards reporting on the trip and its members.


Cite as: Bowdoin College Scientific Expedition to Labrador Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: None.

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