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Overview

This unique record of native Arctic culture provides researchers in anthropology, Arctic culture, and geography with detailed documentation of Inuit life before it was altered by Western values.

The collection chronicles three expeditions made by Vilhjalmur Stefansson between 1906 and 1918 to the isolated regions of the North. In his diaries, Stefansson provides factual and insightful accounts of Inuit hunting trips, religious beliefs, legends, and family traditions. Also included are:

 

  • translations of Inuit words and phrases
  • extensive charts of the Inuits physical measurements
  • a map documenting the seasonal migration paths of the Inuit tribes
  • sketches illustrating Inuit clothing

Stefansson wrote his diaries entirely in English and used them as the background for his book, My Life With the Eskimo (1913), as well as for subsequent books he wrote on the Arctic.

The original diaries are held by the Dartmouth College Library and by the Public Archives of Canada.

Of special interest in this collection are two separate reels of film containing the logbooks of 23 voyages Stefansson took between 1878 and 1925. These lengthy trading and expedition trips provide accounts of daily life at sea, as well as further background on and insight into the life of the explorer Stefansson.

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