Bruce, William S. (William Speirs), 1867-1921

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William Speirs Bruce was born in London of Scottish parents in 1867. He was educated at Norfolk County School, England and enrolled as a medical student at the University of Edinburgh, where renowned Scottish physicists, chemists and oceanographers supervised him. In 1892, he was recommended for the post of surgeon and naturalist on board Balaena during the British Whaling Exploration (Dundee), 1892-1893. The expedition was organized to investigate the commercial possibilities of whaling in the Antarctic, although no right whales were successfully caught. The expedition did, however, fire Bruce with an ambition to pursue further polar studies.

Between 1895 and 1896, Bruce worked at the meteorological observatory on Ben Nevis. In 1897 he joined the Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic Expedition, 1894-1897 (leader Frederick George Jackson) to Franz Josef Land as naturalist. After the expedition, he continued his work at the Ben Nevis station, later joining private expeditions to Novaya Zemlya and Svalbard.

Despite considerable financial problems, he organized and led the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904. The expedition conducted the first oceanographic exploration of the Weddell Sea and discovered Coats Land. Bruce also surveyed Laurie Island in the South Orkney Islands, where a meteorological station (Omond House) was established in 1903. The station has provided the longest continuous record of observations in the Antarctic region, its operation being entrusted to Argentina in 1904.

On his return he became director of the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory, a post that enabled him to complete and publish the reports of the expedition. Between 1906 and 1919, Bruce returned to Svalbard on a variety of scientific projects, yet despite many successes in the region, he was unable to raise funds for another Antarctic expedition. He received many scientific awards for his polar research, including the gold medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the patron's medal of the Royal Geographical Society. However, after the closure of the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory in 1919 due to lack of financial support, Bruce's health started to deteriorate. He died in Edinburgh on 28 October 1921.

Published works The log of the Scotia expedition, 1902-1904 edited by Peter Speak, Edinburgh University Press (1992) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1902-1904]

From the guide to the William Speirs Bruce collection, 1892 - 1919, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Theodore Salvesen collection, 1910-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Alexander Lindsey collection, 1910-1911 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Wilhelm Brennecke collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Speirs Bruce collection, 1892 - 1919 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn David W Wilton collection, 1906 - 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, ships logs and plans, 1902-1904 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Charles Rabot collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Thomas Parkin collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Einar Longberg collection, 1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Neale collection, 1881-1925 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn L N G Ramsay collection, 1912-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Alfred Nathorst collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Scott Keltie collection, 1907-1919 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Louis Gain collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert Mossman collection, 1902 -1939 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn G Pfeffer collection, 1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate collection, 1909-1953 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Henry Feilden collection, 1876-1917 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Carl Chun collection, 1911-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Charles Chilton collection, 1911-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Adolphus Greely collection, 1912-1927 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn James Ferrier collection, 1902-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn The Scottish National Expedition to the Antarctic, 1900-1903 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn John Mathieson collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Leslie Quartermain collection, 1961-1974 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Georges Lecointe collection, 1902-1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Patrick Geddes collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn James Murray collection, 1910-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Frederick Du Cane Godman, 1911 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn J Foster Stackhouse collection, 1911-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Koeppern collection, 1913-1914 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Albert Armitage collection, 1894-1939 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn E J Allen collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Thomas Robertson collection, 1897 - 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Rudmose Brown Collection, 1922-1937 University of Sheffield Library
referencedIn Henryk Arctowski collection, 1896-1940 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Edwin Balch collection, 1909-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert Neal Rudmose Brown collection, 1902 - 1950 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Eagle Clarke collection, 1911 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Thomas Tizard collection, 1900-1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf William Speirs Bruce collection, 1892 - 1919 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Andrew Coats collection, 1898-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Thomas Whitson collection, 1904 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Umberto Cagni collection, 1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Johan Andersson collection, 1902-1904 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Brown, R. N. Rudmose (Robert Neal Rudmose), 1879-. [Rudmose Brown Collection]. University of Sheffield, Sheffield University
referencedIn Emile Racovitza collection, 1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Reginald Koettlitz collection, 1894 - 1903 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Julan Irzar collection, 1909 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn C Tate Regan collection, 1912-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Papers of William Speirs Bruce (1867-1921), 1892-1923 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Albrecht Penck collection, 1910-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert Selbie Clark collection, 1911-1950 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Johan Hjort collection, 1912 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vilhjalmur Stefansson collection, 1903-1928 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn James Hunter Harvey Pirie collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Harvie-Brown collection, 1910-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Charles Donald collection, 1892-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Donald Matthews collection, 1912-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn R T Omond collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adolphus Washington Greely person
associatedWith Albert Borlase Armitage person
associatedWith Alfred Gabriel Nathorst person
associatedWith Arctowski, Henryk person
associatedWith Balaena (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Brennecke, Wilhelm person
associatedWith British Whaling Exploration Antarctic regions 1892 1893 corporateBody
associatedWith Brown, R. N. Rudmose (Robert Neal Rudmose), 1879- person
associatedWith Cagni, Umberto person
associatedWith Charles Tate Regan person
associatedWith Charles W Donald person
associatedWith Chilton, Charles person
associatedWith Chun, Carl person
associatedWith Coats, Andrew person
associatedWith Darwin Leonard 1850-1943 person
associatedWith David W Wilton person
associatedWith Donald Charles W person
associatedWith Edwin Swift Balch person
associatedWith Emile George Racovitza person
associatedWith Frederick Du Cane Godman person
associatedWith Gain, Louis person
associatedWith Geddes, Patrick person
associatedWith Henry Wemyss Feilden person
associatedWith Hjort, Johan person
associatedWith Irzar, Julan person
associatedWith Jackson Frederick George d 1938 person
associatedWith Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic Expedition 1894-1897 corporateBody
associatedWith James G Ferrier person
associatedWith James Hunter Harvey Pirie person
associatedWith J Foster Stackhouse person
associatedWith Johan Gunnar Anderson person
associatedWith John Alexander Harvie-Brown person
associatedWith John Henry Koeppern person
associatedWith John Scott Keltie person
associatedWith Keltie John Scott 1840-1927 person
associatedWith Koettlitz, Reginald person
associatedWith Lecointe, Georges person
associatedWith Leslie Bowden Quartermain person
associatedWith Lindsey, Alexander person
associatedWith L N G Ramsay person
associatedWith Longberg, Einar person
associatedWith Mathieson, John person
associatedWith Matthews, Donald person
associatedWith Mill Hugh Robert 1861-1950 person
associatedWith Murray, James person
associatedWith Parkin, Thomas person
associatedWith Penck, Albrecht person
associatedWith Pfeffer, G person
associatedWith Rabot, Charles person
associatedWith Robert Cockburn Mossman person
associatedWith Robert Selbie Clark, Ernest Henry Shackleton, Robert Mossman, George Wilkins, Frank Worsley, Alexander Macklin person
associatedWith Robertson, Thomas person
associatedWith Rudmose-Brown Robert Neal 1879-1954 person
associatedWith Salvesen, Theodore person
associatedWith Scotia (Steam Yacht) corporateBody
associatedWith Scottish National Antarctic Expedition 1902-1904 corporateBody
associatedWith Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate Ltd 1909-1951 corporateBody
associatedWith Scott Robert Falcon 1868-1912 person
associatedWith Stefansson, Vilhjalmur person
associatedWith Thomas B Whitson person
associatedWith Thomas Henry Tizard person
associatedWith William Eagle Clarke person
associatedWith William Henry Neale person
associatedWith William Speirs Bruce person
associatedWith Windward (Steam yacht) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration
Antarctica Discovery and exploration
Subject
Geology
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1867-08-01

Death 1921-10-28

Bretons

Information

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SNAC ID: 26555935