First edition, first printing. Signed and inscribed by the author to Erik Semmy Henius. 8vo. Publisher's original grey cloth with an image of a polar bear in white and titles in black to the upper board and titles in gilt to the spine. Top edge gilt, the others untrimmed. Illustrated profusely throughout with numerous black and white photographs, two maps (one folding) and a chart. Attractive etched bookplate for Adolf Fischer designed by Hubert Wilm, who was associated with the Munich Secession, to the front pastedown. A near fine copy, the binding firm and bright with the rear hinge neatly strengthened and some minor bumping to the extremities. The contents, with the name of a later member of the Fischer family to the rear endpaper, are otherwise clean and fresh throughout. An attractive example, scarce signed.

A superb association copy of the Danish explorer's first published work, inscribed "in friendship" to Erik Semmy Henius. In 1906-07, Mikkelsen and Ernest Leffingwell led the ambitious Anglo-American Polar Expedition to north Alaska and northwestern Canada, determined to discover and map a supposed land mass - known as 'Keenan Land' - that was thought to exist at the top of the world. Not long into the expedition their ship, the Dutchess of Bedford, became locked in trap ice and was then destroyed, with the crew members salvaging the wood to build a cabin. The expedition over-wintered at Flaxman Island, Alaska, and then proceeded on foot, using dog sleds, over the ice of the Beaufort Sea in search of the new land. Ultimately, they found that the water increased in depth the farther north they travelled, the pattern of their findings conclusively proving that there was no land mass in the north polar region and establishing the presence of a continental shelf. Mikkelsen was, however, still very satisfied with the results of the expedition, declaring that although they "had not found the land we had so implicitly believed in, it was a consolation for us to know that to prove the absence of land was of as much scientific value as to find it!". Erik Semmy Henius was a Danish Consul in Russia, after whom Erik S. Henius Land on Greenland was named following his sponsorship of Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen's Danish Greenland expedition of 1906-08. The present copy, warmly presented to him by Mikklesen was likely given following Mikklesen's leadership of a later rescue mission (1909-10) that sought to recover one of the teams which had become lost as part of the earlier Mylius-Erichsen expedition Henius had supported. (Arctic Bibliography 11421).

Stock code: 24077


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London: William Heinemann.


Signed / Inscribed
Travel / Exploration
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