NANSEN, FRIDTJOF. (1861-1930). Norwegian arctic explorer, scientist, statesman, and humanitarian; winner of the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize. SP. (“Fridtjof Nansen”). 1p. 8vo. N.p., N.d. A fine black-and-white cabinet-sized portrait of Nansen with another gentleman standing on the steps of a railroad car. Elegantly signed on the lower blank mount.
After leading the first team to explore Greenland’s interior in 1888, Nansen set his sights on reaching the North Pole. For this journey, a specially designed ship, the Fram, was constructed to avoid destruction by rising above the pack ice once it was enclosed during the frigid winter. It was Nansen’s brilliant and unusual plan to thus float across the Pole instead of enduring a grueling journey by sled. The Fram set sail in 1893, traveling in open water for several months to cross the Arctic Ocean. After drifting with the pack ice for more than a year, Nansen realized that his course westwards would not take him across or even close to the Pole. On March 14, 1895, he left his ship and made his way North by dogsled accompanied by Hjalmar Johansen. The last stage of their journey took more than a year and was not without significant danger. They were lost several times and only made their way back to Norway after a serendipitous encounter with a band of British explorers on Franz Joseph Land. Nansen recounted his famous voyage in his book, Farthest North, a classic of polar literature.