Richard Byrd Stunning Photo Archive of Polar Expeditions
BYRD, RICHARD. Five black and white photographs of Admiral Richard Byrd, pilot Harold June, meteorologist W.C. Haines, and artist David Paige, 8" x 10", ca. 1935-1947. Most have copyright and photo information on verso. Photos show toning, wrinkling, and warping; please see images for specific conditions of each photo.
Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau.
Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition (1928–30) sailed south in October 1928. A substantial and well-supplied base called Little America was built on the face of the Ross Ice Shelf, a wide plain of shelf ice fronting the Ross Sea near an indentation in the ice cliff named the Bay of Whales. Flights were made from this base over the Antarctic continent. A range of high mountains, named the Rockefeller Mountains was discovered, and a large tract of hitherto unknown territory beyond them was named Marie Byrd Land, after Byrd’s wife. On November 29, 1929, Byrd and three companions made the first flight over the South Pole, flying from Little America to the Pole and back in 19 hours with no mishap. Byrd was afterward promoted to rear admiral for this achievement.
In 1933–35 a second Byrd expedition visited Little America with the aim of mapping and claiming land around the Pole; he extended the exploration of Marie Byrd Land and continued his scientific observations. During the winter of 1934, Byrd spent five months alone in a hut at a weather station named Bolling Advance Base, buried beneath the ice shelf face 123 miles south of Little America, enduring temperatures between −58° and −76° F, and sometimes much lower. He was finally rescued in a desperately sick condition, suffering from frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. This was perhaps his most controversial exploit.
At the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Byrd took command of the U.S. Antarctic service and led a third expedition to Antarctica in 1939–41, this one financed and sponsored by the U.S. Government. Bases were located at Little America and Stonington Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula.
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