Arctic Blue Books Online
Introduction and Acknowledgements
With support from the R.T. Ross foundation, two photocopy sets
of the entire Blue Books were obtained through the help of Donald
Curtin, an archivist in the National Capital Area. Donald tracked
down the dusty original British Parliamentary Papers from 1818-1878
held in storage in Hull, Quebec and photocopied these for us to
use in annotating and checking Taylor's Index. We made copies of
the 6000 plus pages of the Blue Books and donated these to Dafoe
Library. Several other grants from the Science Institute of the
NWT, the Canadian Polar Commission, and an anonymous foundation
allowed us to continue.
The annotating, verifying and cross-referencing phase was more
prolonged. A Social Science and Humanities Research Grant was sought
and obtained in 1993. William Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies
Center of the Smithsonian Institution, and Clifford Hickey, Director
of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute gave us crucial support in
this endeavour. Phillip Cronenwett, Director of Archives at Dartmouth
College, kindly provided photocopies of two Blue Books missing from
the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa.
We had been working from a small, leaky office in the basement
of University College. Through the good services of Hermann and
Marianne Hansen, Jo-Ann Kubin, Linda LeClaire, and Provost Charles
Bigelow, we moved to larger and drier accommodation in the ladies'
basement powder room of University College. Thus was born "Lady
Jane's Loo and Lab" that has been our comfortable (yes comfortable)
home since, especially with the capable help of Henryk Cecelon.
With expanded space and funding, Deborah was joined by Harpa Isfeld,
anthropology, and Ruth May, archivist and volunteer, in the annotating
of the Index. Ruth really did most of the annotating while the rest
of us helped with the input or keeping the "administrivia" at bay.
Other assistance came from Charles Bigelow as Director of the Institute
for the Humanities and Dean Raymond Currie, Arts, who provided me
with a term as a Fellow of the Institute. Cybershaman Richard Bochonko
and Technowizard Ian Cameron kept the glitches from the door. "Himself"
and fellow denizens of the UCSCR helped keep everything in perspective.
In 1998, the Index went on-line on the University of Manitoba's
Libraries Homepage through the assistance of Jonathan Esterhazy,
Libraries. Earlier paper drafts of the Index had been provided to
Archives and Government Documents so that students and researchers
could use the Blue Books.
In August 1998, Harpa Isfeld completed the final proofing and
formatting of the Index through the four programs (MS Word, Hypercard,
Filemaker, and Pagemaker) to produce a final printed copy of the
Index. Theodore Macfarlane, Campus Copy Centre, engineered the printing
of 3 copies of the 957 page Index to the Arctic Blue Books by Andrew
Taylor. Siobhan Kari and Harpa are helping with post annotation
Despite the best efforts of Hoodoo, Snafu, Murphy, and Sod, the
Index is now on-line at the University of Manitoba Libraries Homepage
and in print format. We survived two floods and a mess of other
hassles in completing Andrew's amazing work of many years ago. Thank
you all for your help.
Where are the Arctic Blue Books?
Copies of the Blue Books are available in Archives and Government
Documents, Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba. We are in process
of discussion with Neil John McLean Medical Library, Faculty of
Medicine and the Hudson's Bay Archives to donate copies of the Blue
Books to them. Other collections with complete sets of the Blue
Books are Libraries of Parliament, Canada and Great Britain; Library
of Congress, USA; Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, Great
Britain; and Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.
Other source materials relevant to the era and area of the
Arctic Blue Books.
Taylor's primary works on the Arctic are Geographical Discovery
and Exploration of the Queen Elizabeth Islands and The Physiography
of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. Pierre Berton's The Arctic
Grail is a good popular account of the era and the men and woman
(Lady Jane Franklin) who played such prominent roles in the European
exploration of northern North America. Leslie Neatby's Search
for Franklin, In Quest of the North West Passage, and Frozen
Ships are excellent standard references. Patricia Sutherland's
The Franklin Era in Canadian Arctic History 1845 - 1859
(Ottawa: National Museum of Man Mercury Series No. 131, 1985) provides
16 eclectic essays on this subject. For Alaskan Native villages,
see Dorothy Jean Ray's "Nineteenth Century Settlement and Subsistence
Patterns in Bering Strait" in Arctic Anthropology 1964: 2.2
October 14, 1998