Lot 1001: George W Melville IN THE LENA DELTA 1885 First Edition Antique Arctic Exploration North Pole Plates Fold-Out Maps Decorative Binding
22 October 2016
Freeville, NY, USALive Auction
Title: In the Lena Delta. A Narrative of the Search for Lieut.-Commander DeLong and his Companions Followed by an Account of the Greely Relief Expedition and a Proposed Method of Reaching the North Pole
Author: George W. Melville - Rear Admiral George Wallace Melville, USN was an engineer, Arctic explorer and author. As chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, he headed a time of great expansion, technological progress and change, often in defiance of the conservative element of the Navy hierarchy. He superintended the design of 120 ships and introduced the water-tube boiler, the triple-screw propulsion system, vertical engines, the floating repair ship, and the "distilling ship." Appointed Engineer in Chief of the Navy, Melville reformed the service entirely, putting Navy engineers on a professional rather than an artisan footing.
Melville also established the Engineering Experiment Station (EES) near the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. As Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy, he fought hard to get an appropriation of $400,000 for an experiment and testing laboratory to be located at Annapolis. He argued that such a facility would be a dependable means for testing machinery and equipment before its installation in Navy ships and aid training engineering officers. Both, he surmised, would increase the efficiency of the Navy. When the Navy offered to have this facility named after him, Melville refused with characteristic modesty.
Melville made his first trip to the Arctic in 1873, when he volunteered to help rescue 19 survivors of the Polaris expedition. Six years later, he volunteered to accompany Lieutenant Commander George W. DeLong on board the USS Jeannette to the Bering Strait in search of a quick way to the North Pole. Jeannette became icebound and was eventually crushed; Melville, the 10 others in his small boat, and two from DeLong's boat, were the only survivors. Despite the extreme length and hardships of the trip, he returned in search of DeLong and others who might possibly still be alive. He found none but retrieved all records of the expedition. The United States Congress awarded Melville the Congressional Gold Medal for his gallantry and resourcefulness; the Navy advanced him 15 numbers on the promotion list. He wrote of the DeLong expedition in his book, "In the Lena Delta," published in 1884. (Information courtesy of Wikipedia)
Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co.
Printing Information: First Edition
Binding Style: Hardcover
Pagination: 497 pages
Width: 6.25" Height: 8.75"
Condition / Notes: This antique volume is bound in full leather with gilt ruling and decoration. The exterior displays fading to the spine, vertical cracking along spine edges, and minor rubbing at extremities. The hinges are cracked. The volume is adorned with dentelles, marbled endpapers, and marbled page edges. The interior is clean and bright, illustrated with numerous plates and fold-out maps. This volume contains an index and appendix.
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