Arctic Explorers: Dartmouth's Vilhjálmur Stefansson and Scotland's John Rae

Dartmouth Events

Arctic Explorers: Dartmouth's Vilhjálmur Stefansson and Scotland's John Rae

Professor Astrid Ogilvie, Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland & INSTAAR CU-Boulder on the lessons 20th c. explorer Vilhjálmur Stefansson learned from 19th c explorer John Rae.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Haldeman 41 (Kreindler Conference Hall)
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars


3:30-4:15pm  View historical materials at the Rauner Library, Dartmouth
4:30-5:30pm  "Arctic Exploration: What 20th century explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson learned from 19th century explorer John Rae" (041 Haldeman Center)
5:30-6:30pm  Reception for Astrid Ogilvie and Niels Einarsson of the Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland (Dickey Center, Haldeman)

After training as a surgeon in Edinburg, John Rae (1813-1893) travelled to northern Canada with the Hudson Bay Company and ended up staying there for the next 10 years, learning from the indigenous peoples and honing his Arctic survival abilities. In 1854 he discovered the true fate of John Franklin's lost expedition to the Arctic by talking to Inuit hunters. Reporting that there had been cannibalism, along with his adoption of native dress and skills, made him extremely unpopular with the English establishment and it is only recently that he has been accorded some recognition. 

However, Rae had a sincere admirer in the Icelandic-Canadian explorer Vilhjálmur Stefansson (1879-1962), founder of Dartmouth's Northern and Polar Studies Program. Rauner Special Collections Library houses the Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration, one of the premium collections on 20th century Arctic exploration in the world.

Dr. Ogilvie's presentation explores the numerous ways in which Rae was an inspiration to Stefansson and why he, in turn, irritated Rae´s English detractors.


For more information, contact:
Lee McDavid

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

The John Sloan Dickey Center