The Libraries of Famous Men: Ernest Shackleton | The Art of Manliness

It has been sometime since I referenced this series of posts on The Art of Manhood website, but this Feb.26 post grabbed my attention and I decided to inform you of it here.

You may remember the story of Irishman Ernest Shackleton’s exploratory trips to the South Pole in the early part of the 20th century (especially notable is the one on the ship Endurance in 1915), but you probably did not know the story of his library. That’s the focus of this article on AOM. And while this story is interesting in its own right, the part of that also caught my attention was the reference to his Bible.

We quote from the first part of it here, and then from that section that references Shackleton’s Bible. So read on and learn the importance of every library, large or small, in a library, a home, or on a ship.

Part of explorer Ernest Shackleton’s genius for leadership, was how keenly he understood the way in which idleness can destroy men’s morale. Thus when his ship, the Endurance, became stuck in pack ice en route to a planned Antarctic expedition, he didn’t let his men simply sit on their hands. Instead, he charged them with daily maintenance tasks, organized games of football, hockey, and soccer on the ice outside the ship, and encouraged the keeping of daily diaries. As a help in biding the time, Shackleton also lent members of the crew books from his personal library, the exact contents of which were unknown, until recently.

Two years ago, when pictures taken by the expedition’s photographer, Frank Hurley, were digitized and restored by the Royal Geographical Society, it became possible for the first time to clearly make out the titles of the books Shackleton kept in his shipboard cabin. We now know his field library contained quite a mix of genres, including a set of encyclopedias, popular and classic novels, collections of poetry and quotations, manuals of grammar, several dictionaries, and accounts of other polar expeditions.

And now this special reference to the things Shackleton took when they had to abandon the Endurance:

While most of Shackleton’s library could not be brought along, he did encourage his men to take one of his books if it fell under their weight allowance.

Shackleton himself tore out the flyleaf of his Bible, upon which Queen Alexandra had inscribed a prayer for his safety, as well as the pages for Psalm 23 and Job 38:29-30 (“Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.”), before laying the rest of the book down on the ice.

To finish reading this story, visit the link below.

Source: The Libraries of Famous Men: Ernest Shackleton | The Art of Manliness

Published in: on February 27, 2019 at 10:29 PM  Leave a Comment