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Signed Custom Menu
Boston, 1884. unbound. Extraordinary memento from the ill-fated Greely Polar Expedition (1881 - 1884) whereby 19 members of the crew of 25 perished from starvation, drowning, hypothermia, and, in one case, gun shot wounds from an execution ordered by Greely himself. The rescue mission was a remarkable accomplishment; the fact that anybody could survive such an ordeal was astonishing, and rumors of cannibalism arose almost immediately. On August 14, 1884, a few days after his funeral, the body of Lt. Kislingburg, second in command of the expedition, was exhumed and an autopsy performed. The finding that flesh had been cut from the bones appeared to confirm the accusation. Original signed custom-made menu for the 153rd meeting of the Commercial Club, September 20th 1884, Parker House, Boston Massachusetts, an event which hosted native son Commodore A. W. Greely and his rescuers Winfield Scott Schley (commander of Thetis) & William H. Emory, Jr. (commander of the Bear), just one month after their return home. The menu is two pages, each measuring 6 x 4 inches. Adorning the cover is an original mounted watercolor (4 x 2.75 inches) of Greely's doomed ship Proteus which was crushed in Smiths Sound. Though small, the rendering is incredibly accurate, showing all three of the ship's masts and the steam pipe as the vessel flounders between icebergs, which are highlighted by the artist's use of salt and crushed mica. On the back cover, Schley signs first adding his rank "Commander U.S.N." and "Commander: Greely Relief Expedition, 1884." Greely signs with the inscription: "To Miss Walker, From and Admirer, for years, of her father." It is most probable he is referencing U.S. Admiral John Grimes Walker, a close colleague who was from neighboring state New Hampshire. Last, the very elusive William H. Emory Jr. who adds "Commander, Arctic Steamer "Bear." This item is extremely rare. The only other item signed by all three and dated 1884 is in the permanent collection of the Annapolis Naval Academy, who hosted a dinner for Greely the same year. Interestingly, both Greely and Schley would go on to found the National Geographic Society, but that wouldn't be until 1888, four years after the rescue! Near fine condition.
      [Bookseller: Argosy Book Store]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      Biblio    


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