Ross Marvin Roosevelt 1905-1906 Log

Ross Marvin Roosevelt 1905-06 Log. Reproduced with permission from the Chemung Historical Society

Records of weather in the High Arctic are almost nonexistent before the Second World War. However, during Robert Peary’s second attempt to reach the North Pole (1905-06), engineer Ross Marvin and others kept a detailed log of climate conditions during the long winter on board their ice-bound ship, the SS Roosevelt.  The Roosevelt and its crew spent from September 1905 to July 1906 off Cape Sheridan, northeastern Ellesmere Island (Nunavut). The ship had been specially outfitted to withstand the hardships of Arctic waters and the pressure of being encased in ice while the expedition members prepared for Peary’s attempt to reach the Pole.

Each day Marvin recorded temperature and barometric pressure and made observations on wind direction and velocity as well as descriptions of ice conditions. In addition, the log provides snapshots of work and other activities around and onboard the ship during the winter.

Inuit in the region provided knowledge, dogs, technology and their hunting and sewing skills were essential to the expedition. Marvin recorded some of the extraordinary hunting successes of the Inuit who were almost solely responsible for providing meat to the explorers

The Northern Seas Project has transcribed these entries, and in combination with other records will help to build a detailed picture of High Arctic climate in recent centuries.