Collection 2000.18 - Noel Humphreys collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Noel Humphreys collection

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Level of description

Collection

Reference code

2000.18

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Edition statement of responsibility

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1934-1935 (Creation)
    Creator
    Humphreys, Noel

Physical description area

Physical description

0.2 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1883-1966)

Biographical history

Gordon Noel Humphreys (1883–1966) was a British born surveyor, pilot, botanist, explorer and doctor. Originally trained as a surveyor, Humphreys worked in both Mexico and Uganda. During World War I he served as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps, was shot down and spent his internment training himself in botany.

After the war it was his survey work and exploration of the Ruwenzori Range in Uganda that brought him to the attention of Edward Shackleton. Humphreys was chosen as the leader and head surveyor of the "Oxford University Ellesmere Land Expedition" (OUELE) by Shackleton, who was the organiser of the expedition. Consisting of Shackleton, photographer and biologist A. W. Moore (sometimes listed as Morris), H. W. Stallworthy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, geologist R. Bentham and ornithologist David Haig-Thomas, along with their Greenland Inuit guides, Inutuk and Nukapinguaq, they set up camp at Etah, Greenland in 1934. The expedition was sponsored by the Oxford University Exploration Club, the Royal Geographical Society and the Government of Canada.

From the camp the camp Inutuk, Nukapinguaq, Stallworthy and Moore proceeded to Lake Hazen on Ellesmere Island, Canada where they set up camp. From there Moore and Nukapinguaq continued up the Gilman Glacier and then made the first known ascent of Mount Oxford. Naming the mountain after the University of Oxford, Moore estimated the height to be 9,000 ft (2,700 m), it rises to about 7,250 ft (2,210 m).

From the summit they could see a mountain range that the "great imperialist" (as Humphreys was called by Shackleton in 1937) named the British Empire Range. Again Moore was to overestimate the height of the range at 10,000 ft (3,000 m), in fact the highest point, Barbeau Peak, is 8,583 ft (2,616 m).

By the end of May 1935 the group had returned to Etah and to England in late September the same year.

Humphreys retired to Devon and died there in 1966.

Custodial history

The eight newspaper clippings which comprise the Noel Humphreys collection were obtained as part of the purchase of Donald Baxter MacMillan’s 1918 publication of “Four Years in the White North” from Bjarne Tokerund of Victoria, British Columbia. This book is now available from Special Collections, Geoffrey R. Weller Library.

Scope and content

Collection consists of eight newspaper clippings, seven of which are a series of articles on the findings of the Oxford University Ellesmere Land Expedition, with the eighth being a photograph of the Expedition’s winter quarters in Etah, Greenland. Five of the articles were written by the expedition leader, Mr. Noel Humphreys and the other two were written by members of the Expedition, Mr. Moore and Mr. Haig-Thomas. The articles were originally published in the “Times” of London but the clippings appear to be from the “New Zealand Herald”.

Notes area

Physical condition

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Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

No restrictions.

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Finding aids

File list available.

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Accruals

General note

Accession # 2000.18

General note

Photocopies of these articles were made onto acid free paper in 2000. A previous retrieval number of 2000.18/2 was assigned to this preservation copy file.

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Description record identifier

2000.18

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