Sep 17, 2009 - Sale 2186

Sale 2186 - Lot 46

Price Realized: $ 7,800
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
(ARCTIC--GREENLAND.) Mills, Jackson M. Original sketchbook from the 1892 Peary Relief Expedition. 56 pencil drawings on 52 leaves, each 5 x 8 inches. Oblong 8vo, disbound, 1/4 calf front cover present but worn; minor browning and scattered soiling. Newfoundland and Greenland, 1892

Additional Details

This sketchbook documents the 1892 expedition to retrieve Robert E. Peary after his traverse across the ice cap of northern Greenland. The relief expedition departed from Brooklyn on 27 June 1892, switched ships at St. John's, Newfoundland on 5 July, made their first contact with the Peary party on the northwestern coast of Greenland on 25 July, found Peary on the ice cap on 5 August, and concluded their search for missing members on 24 August before returning homeward.
Jackson M. Mills (1863-1943) was the expedition's physician, and made these 56 evocative sketches of the Greenland coast during his spare moments. He recorded glaciers on the icy coastline, the small settlements on the coast, the pack ice, marine flora and fauna, and Inuit artifacts. Most are titled, though only one is dated. Two of the drawings depict anonymous people: a group of four explorers picking their way across "Inland Ice with Crevasses" (pictured) and "Kayaker Throwing his Harpoon at a Seal." One untitled drawing depicts a cliffside cairn left by Peary, with a supply barrel and a note in a bottle. A full title listing of the drawings is available upon request.
Dr. Mills was of Jewish descent (as was the relief expedition commander Angelo Heilprin). He was born in Detroit as Jackson Mihalovitch, son of Hungarian immigrants. At the time of the expedition, he resided at 107 East 26th Street in Manhattan, very near the present location of Swann Galleries. He spent his final days in New Rochelle, NY. Provenance: by descent to Mills's widow Eudolia (Staub) Mills in 1943; to her niece Eudolia J. (Haight) Smith (1907-2004) circa 1945; to Eudolia Smith's husband Clifford (1912-2007) in 2004; to a nephew of the Smiths, the present owner, in 2007. with--3 photographs: a worn cabinet photograph of Mills in polar gear; a large framed reproduction of the same; and a 10 x 8-inch photograph of Mills taken later in life.