Debenham, Frank, 1883-1965

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Epithet: JP

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000267.0x000134

Epithet: of the London County Council

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000267.0x000135

Frank Debenham was born on 26 December 1883 in Bowral, New South Wales, Australia. He was educated at the University of Sydney, initially gaining an arts degree before returning to gain a science degree in 1910, specializing in geology under Professor Edgeworth David. In 1910, he joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as geologist, and made extensive geological and topographical surveys of the mountains and glaciers west of McMurdo Sound. He was also responsible for the photographic work of the expedition after the official photographer, Herbert Ponting, left in 1912.

On his return from the expedition, Debenham went to Cambridge, England to write up the results, but this work was interrupted by the First World War. Joining the Army, he rose to the rank of Major and saw action in Salonika, where he was severely wounded. On his return to Cambridge after demobilization, he resumed work on the expedition reports on geology and maps and surveys. His abilities in this field were recognised when he was appointed Royal Geographical Society lecturer in surveying at the University of Cambridge in 1919. This was followed by a readership in geography, and in 1931, he was appointed first professor of geography at the university. Instrumental in founding the Scott Polar Research Institute in 1920, he was its first director from 1926 until 1946. He also founded The Polar Record in 1931, becoming its first editor. After his retirement in 1949, he travelled and worked in central Africa and published scientific papers and books on polar and geographical matters. He died in Cambridge on 23 November 1965.

Published work, In the Antarctic, stories of Scott's last expedition; with illustrations by Edward Wilson and the author, Frank Debenham, Erskine Press, England (1998) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1910-1913] and The polar regions by Frank Debenham, Ernest Benn Ltd. London (1930) SPRI Library Shelf (2) and Antarctica, the story of a continent by Frank Debenham, Herbert Jenkins London (1959) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(091)[pub 1959] and The quiet land; the Antarctic diaries of Frank Debenham, member of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, Bluntisham Books, Erskine Press, Harleston (1992) SPRI Library Shelf (7) 91(08)[1910-1913]

From the guide to the Frank Debenham collection, 1910-1965, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Richard Byrd collection, 1928-1939 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn collection, 1926-1930 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Colin Bertram collection, 1932-1952 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Dmitriy Girev collection, 1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, 1885-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Jean Baptiste Charcot collection, 1907 - 1936 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Debenham, Frank, 1883-1965. Letter, 1931 Jan. 19, Cambridge [Eng.] to Prof W.H. Hobbs, Ann Arbor. University of Michigan
referencedIn James Hayes collection, 1924-1935 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol.X (ff.375).July 1891-Oct.1892.Trade Unions: Correspondence, speeches, etc., of J. Burns, M.P., 1872-1905.COUNTY OF London: Correspondence and papers of J. Burns as L.C.C. representative for Battersea: 1889-1905.includes:ff. 1, 28, 118, 20... British Library
referencedIn Apsley Cherry-Garrard collection, 1910-1950 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Vol. LXXIX (ff. 302). June 1905-Jan. 1906.includes:ff. 1, 240 George Cadbury, chocolate manfacturer, of Birmingham: Letters to Lord Gladstone: 1899-1905.f. 2 William Hesketh Lever, Baron Leverhulme: Correspondence with Lord Gladstone: 1900-1918.f... British Library
referencedIn Frank Debenham collection, 1910-1965 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Frank Debenham collection, 1910-1965 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Edgar Evans collection, 1911 Scott Polar Research Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard person
associatedWith British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913 corporateBody
associatedWith Charcot Jean-Baptiste 1876-1936 person
associatedWith Debenham, Frank person
associatedWith Dmitriy Semenovich Girev/Frank Debenham person
associatedWith Evans, Edgar person
associatedWith George Colin Lawder Bertram person
associatedWith Hayes, J. Gordon (James Gordon), 1877-1936. person
associatedWith Hobbs, William Herbert, 1864-1952. person
associatedWith Jean Baptiste Auguste Charcot person
associatedWith Kidson, Edward person
associatedWith Richard Eveyln Byrd person
associatedWith Scott Polar Research Institute corporateBody
associatedWith Scott Robert Falcon 1868-1912 person
associatedWith Taylor, Thomas Griffith, 1880-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
London, county of, England
Antarctica Discovery and exploration


Birth 1883-12-26

Death 1965-11-23





Ark ID: w6k684mx

SNAC ID: 43993861