John Rae, Arctic Explorer

The Unfinished Autobiography


John Rae, Arctic Explorer

John Rae is best known today as the first European to reveal the fate of the Franklin Expedition, yet the range of Rae’s accomplishments is much greater. Over five expeditions, Rae mapped some 1,550 miles (2,494 kilometres) of Arctic coastline; he is undoubtedly one of the Arctic’s greatest explorers, yet today his significance is all but lost. John Rae, Arctic Explorer is an annotated version of Rae’s unfinished autobiography. William Barr has extended Rae’s previously unpublished manuscript and completed his story based on Rae’s reports and correspondence—including reaction to his revelations about the Franklin Expedition. Barr’s meticulously researched, long overdue presentation of Rae’s life and legacy is an immensely valuable addition to the literature of Arctic exploration.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front cover 1
Title page 4
Copyright page 5
Epigraph 6
Contents 8
Acknowledgements 10
Introduction 12
The Autobiography 26
Maps 30
1 Orkney Childhood 36
2 Voyage to Hudson Bay and a Winter on Charlton Island 52
3 Moose Factory 62
4 Moose Factory—Fort Garry—Toronto—York Factory 118
5 1846–1847 Arctic Expedition 144
6 Searching for Franklin with Sir John Richardson, 1848 176
7 Winter at Fort Confidence, 1848–1849 224
8 Bourgeois at Fort Simpson 248
9 North Again—And Another Winter at Fort Confidence 288
10 Sledge Expedition to Victoria Island, Spring 1851 326
11 Boat Expedition, Summer 1851 370
12 From Fort Chipewyan to Fort Garry to England 412
13 Back to the Arctic, 1853 432
14 From Churchill to Repulse Bay 472
15 A Second Winter at Repulse Bay, 1853–1854 496
16 North Again—To Close the Last Gap 528
17 The Second Half of His Life 544
Appendix 1: John Rae’s Assessment of his Achievments as an Explorer 560
Appendix 2: On Ice—Its Formation , &c. 570
Appendix 3: Building a Snow House 580
Biographical Sketches 582
Notes 606
References 654
Index 662
About the Editor and Author 686
Other Titles from University of Alberta Press 689