Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862

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Entered the navy in 1812 and accompanied W. E. Parry in four expeditions in Arctic regions. In 1831 Ross discovered the magnetic pole. Commanded Antarctic expedition, 1839-1842.

From the description of Letters [manuscript]. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225765387

Epithet: Captain; RN

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000161.0x0001ed

Epithet: Captain; RN Knight 1843

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000161.0x00015e

Rear-Admiral. Discoveries in the Antarctic. Expedition away 3-4 years lost only one man. Was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, and awarded gold medals of London and Paris Geographical Societies.

From the description of Note [manuscript]. [186-] (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225833064

Epithet: FRS; RearAdm. 1856

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000161.0x0001ee

James Clark Ross was born in 1800 in London, nephew of the explorer Sir John Ross. He joined the Royal Navy in April 1812, serving as midshipman under his uncle's command. In 1818, as a midshipman in HMS Isabella, commanded by John Ross, he sailed on his first Arctic expedition in an attempt to discover the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Between 1819 and 1827, he took part in four Arctic expeditions under Sir Edward Parry, attempting to explore northward from eastern Canada and Svalbard. During these expeditions, he particularly interested himself in making observations of magnetism and natural history. Promoted to commander on his return to England in 1827, he was employed between 1829 and 1833 under his uncle on a private expedition to find the Northwest Passage. As second-in-command, James Clark Ross led several overland sledging parties, reaching the North Magnetic Pole on 31 May 1831. For his achievements, he was promoted to captain in 1834 and was employed in making a magnetic survey of Great Britain and Ireland between 1835 and 1838 by order of the Admiralty. In 1836, Ross led the British Relief Expedition from Hull to rescue the crews of eleven whaling vessels, which had been beset and forced to winter in Davis Strait in the Arctic during 1835.

In 1839, he was appointed to command the British Naval Expedition, 1839-1843, to conduct a series of magnetic observations in the southern hemisphere and to locate and reach the South Magnetic Pole if possible. The expedition, with Ross in HMS Erebus and Captain Francis Crozier commanding HMS Terror, left England in September. Establishing magnetic observatories in St. Helena, Cape Town, and Iles Kerguelen, and taking running observations en route, the two ships reached Hobart, Tasmania early in 1840. A geophysical observatory 'Rossbank' was established in Hobart with the co-operation of the Governor, Sir John Franklin, Later in the same year, the two vessels headed south into the Southern Ocean, crossing the Antarctic Circle on 1 January 1841 and were the first vessels to force a way through the pack ice of the Ross Sea. Ross discovered and roughly charted 900 kilometres of new coast in Victoria Land, which was claimed for Queen Victoria on Possession Island on 12 January and Franklin Island on 27 January 1841. Continuing south, he discovered Ross Island; with twin peaks that he named Erebus and Terror, and the huge ice shelf that also bears his name. He calculated the position of the South Magnetic Pole as 75.83°South, 154.13°East, but was unable to reach the Pole either by boat or by sledging. After wintering in Australia, the expedition returned to the Ross Sea in December 1841, then visited the South Shetland Islands, the Falkland Islands and proceeded into the South American sector of Antarctica, where a number of discoveries were made off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

On return to England Ross was knighted. During the years 1848 to 1849, he led a further expedition to the Arctic in HMS Enterprise and HMS Investigator in search of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition. His exploring parties sledged to within 180 miles of the point where the missing vessels had been abandoned, but on attempting to sail westward through Barrow Strait, HMS Enterprise and HMS Investigator were beset and drifted into Baffin Bay. He returned to England, but continued to be consulted as an authority during the search for Franklin and on all matters relating to the Arctic. He retired from the Navy in 1856 with the rank of rear admiral, and died at home in Aylesbury, England in 1862.

Published work, A voyage of discovery and research in the southern and Antarctic regions during the years 1839-1843 by (Sir) James Clark Ross, David and Charles Reprints Newton Abbot (1969) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1839-1843 Ross]

Biographical work, Polar pioneers, John Ross and James Clark Ross by Maurice Ross, McGill-Queen's University Press Montreal (1994) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Ross] The Polar Rosses, John and James Clark Ross and their explorations by Ernest S. Dodge, Faber and Faber London (1973) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Ross]

From the guide to the Sir James Clark Ross collection, 1812-1860, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Sir William Edward Parry collection, 1800-1855 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Barrow collection, 1848-1860 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Francis Beaufort collection, 1849-1857 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol. I, ff. 245.includes:ff. 1, 3 William Scoresby, Captain afterwards Reverend; FRS: Letters to Capt. G. W. Manby: 1829, 1835.ff. 1-39 passim George William Manby, FRS: Letters to: 1829-1850.f. 5 William John Huggins, painter: Letter to J. Bro... British Library
creatorOf Franklin, Jane Griffin, Lady, 1792-1875. Papers. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Edward Adams collection, 1848-1851 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sabine, Edward, Sir, 1788-1883. Correspondence, 1825-1854. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Frederick William Beechey collection, 1831-1849 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol. XIII. (IT. 509). Re-Sew.includes:ff. 1-3 Lieutenant George Read, RN: Biographical notes: 1844.f. 4 Comm Thomas Read, RN: Biographical notes: 1846.f. 6 Lieutenant Nehemiah John Reed, RN: Letter to W. R. O'Byrne: 1846.ff. 7-10 Comm. John R... British Library
referencedIn Francis Crozier collection, [15--]-1907 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir John Barrow collection, 1818-1843 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. Letters [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Joseph Kay collection, 1828-1847 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross Antarctic Expedition (1839-43). Drawings made by Sir Joseph Hooker during the Sir James Ross Antarctic Expedition : 1839-43. Natural History Museum
referencedIn British Naval Expedition, 1839-1843, 1839-1843 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Lightfoot collection, 1849 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Ann Savours collection, [1960-1961] Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. Papers, 1834-1860. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
referencedIn Charles Phillips collection, 1849-1851 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. Letter: to My Dear Richardson /by James Clark Ross 1847 May 7. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Sir John Ross collection, 1812-1856 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Bassett Jones (collector) records, 1818-1938. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878. Autograph letter signed : Princeton, to William Vaughan in London, 1839 Oct. 18. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. Note [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Alexander Smith collection, 1841-1844 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Dr John Robertson collection, 1841 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Great Britain, Admiralty, Hydrographic Department collection, 1840-1974 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. Letters. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
creatorOf Sir James Clark Ross collection, 1812-1860 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert McClure collection, 1845-1855 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Jules and Adele d'Urville collection, 1830-1842 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sabine, Edward, Sir, 1788-1883. Papers, 1818-1870. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Herschel Family. Papers, 1721-1951, (bulk 1810-1871). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Elizabeth Bowmer collection, 1859 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn George Back collection, 1796-1878 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Scientists Collection, 1563-1973 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Sir James Clark Ross collection, 1812-1860 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Dyer collection, 1848 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn University Of Texas (Austin), Humanities Research Center. [Contact repository for more information].
referencedIn Royal Society. Sabine Papers.
referencedIn Edward Bird collection, 1858 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker correspondence, 1844-1910, 1844-1910 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker collection, 1839 - 1906 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol. CCXLIll (ff. 390). Jan.-July 1837.includes:ff. 1, 205 James Scarlett, 1st Baron Abinger: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1825-1843.ff. 4, 33, 95, 259 Charles William Vane, Baron Stewart; formerly Stewart; 3rd Marquess of Londonderry: Corres... British Library
referencedIn Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter, 1827 February 2, to Archdeacon Singleton. New Hampshire Newsp Project
referencedIn Robert Goodsir collection, 1849-1850 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. List of soundings. Natural History Museum
referencedIn Sir Francis Leopold McClintock collection, 1848-1903 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Yates, Alexander. J.D. McElwee estate appraisal, 1861 Jan. 1. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn James Henry Coffin Papers, 1848-1884 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn Sir Edwin Sabine correspondence, 1825-1854, 1825-1854 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Richard Humphreys collection, 1836 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol. III (ff. 493). K-R.includes:f. 1 Conte Camillo Benso di Cavour, Sardinian statesman: Letter to N. W. Senior: 1842.: Fr.f. 1 John Kintzing Kane, American jurist: Letter to Sir R. I. Murchison: 1857.f. 3 Sir Robert John Kane, FRS 1849: Lette... British Library
referencedIn Vol. VIII, ff. 297, R-Y.includes:f. 1 John Rae, FRS; Arctic explorer: Letter to R. McCormick: 1860.f. 3 Andrew Crombie Ramsay, geologist; Knight 1881: Letter to -: 1841.f. 4 Andrew Crombie Ramsay, geologist; Knight 1881: Letter to T. R. Jones: ... British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Actaeon (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Adams, Edward person
associatedWith Albert, Prince Consort, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1861. person
associatedWith Alexander John Smith person
associatedWith Ann Margaret Savours as compiler person
associatedWith Bache, Alexander Dallas person
associatedWith Barrow, John person
associatedWith Beaufort, Francis person
associatedWith Bowmer, Elizabeth person
associatedWith Briseis (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith British Naval Expedition Antarctic 1839-1842 corporateBody
associatedWith British Relief Expedition Davis Strait 1836 corporateBody
associatedWith Charles Gerrans Phillips person
associatedWith Cove (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Dibner, Bern, person
associatedWith Dr John Robertson person
associatedWith Dyer, William person
associatedWith Edward Joseph Bird person
associatedWith Erebus (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier person
associatedWith Franklin, Jane Griffin, Lady, 1792-1875. person
associatedWith Franklin John 1786-1847 person
associatedWith Frederick William Beechey person
associatedWith George Back and others person
associatedWith Great Britain Admiralty corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain, Admiralty Hydrographic Department corporateBody
associatedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878. person
associatedWith Herschel Family. family
correspondedWith Herschel, John, Sir person
associatedWith Hooker Joseph Dalton 1817-1911 person
associatedWith Hooker William Jackson 1785-1865 person
associatedWith Jones, Bassett, collector. person
associatedWith Joseph W (Henry) Kay person
associatedWith Jules Sebastien Cesar Dumont and Adele d'Urville person
associatedWith King Philip Parker 1793-1856 person
associatedWith Lightfoot, William person
associatedWith Ommanney Erasmus 1814-1904 person
associatedWith Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. person
associatedWith Ransome, George, fl. 1851. person
associatedWith Richardson, John, Sir, 1787-1865. person
associatedWith Richard W Humphreys person
associatedWith Robert Anstruther Goodsir person
associatedWith Robert John Le Mesurier McClure person
associatedWith Ross Antarctic Expedition (1839-43) corporateBody
associatedWith Ross John 1777-1856 person
associatedWith Sabine, Edward, Sir, 1788-1883. person
associatedWith Sir Francis Leopold McClintock person
associatedWith Sir James Clark Ross person
associatedWith Sir John Barrow person
associatedWith Sir John Ross and others person
associatedWith Terror (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Yates, Alexander. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Antarctica Discovery and exploration
Arctic regions
Ireland, Europe
Antarctica
Warwickshire, England
Antarctica
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration
Glasgow, Scotland
India, Asia
Subject
Magnetism, Terrestrial
Surveys And Explorations, General
Magnetic prospecting--19th century
Scientific surveys--19th century
Science In Europe
Search and rescue operations--19th century
Scientific expeditions--19th century
Occupation
Explorers
Function

Person

Birth 1800-04-15

Death 1862-04-03

Britons

English

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