The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture

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Places exploration of the Arctic region in the context of American culture in the late nineteenth century. Focuses on the expeditions of Elisha Kent Kane, Isaac Hayes, Charles Hall, Adolphus Greely, Walter Wellmann, Robert Peary and Frederick Cook, their innovations, use of media to publicize their field studies, and competition between explorers. Addresses the Smithsonian's role in encouraging this exploration.


  • Greely, Adolphus Washington
  • Hall, Charles Francis 1821-1871
  • Kane, Elisha Kent 1820-1857
  • Hayes, I. I (Isaac Israel) 1832-1881
  • Wellman, Walter 1858-1934
  • Peary, Robert E (Robert Edwin) 1856-1920
  • Cook, Frederick 1833-1905
  • Arctic Expedition
  • Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1881-1884)
  • Polaris Expedition


Smithsonian History Bibliography

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Explorers
  • Arctic




First edition

Physical description

Number of pages : 218; Page numbers : 1-206

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