Exploration and Travel from Helen Kahn Rare Books
Here is one more distressing ship narrative: A Narrative of the Loss of the Kent, by Fire, in the Bay of Biscay, on the first of March, 1825. In a Letter to a Friend, by a passenger. The passenger was Sir Duncan MacGregor, and he retells the event aboard a ship bound for India and China with over 600 onboard. Fortunately, another ship was passing close by, so most of the passengers were saved. MacGregor also recounts the kindnesses bestowed upon them by the Quakers who took in the survivors in nearby Falmouth. Item 92. $75.
A book about exploring the north coast of America may draw a few blank stares. We all know the east and west coasts, and the south coast makes sense, but a north coast? Well, there is one. Admittedly, it's rather cold up there. No one is going to spend a day sunning on a northern beach, but Thomas Simpson provides a good account of this territory in Narratives of the Discoveries on the North Coast of America...published in 1843. Simpson was one of a party of twelve explorers employed by the Hudson's Bay Company sent out to investigate stretches of the northern coast. They traveled from the MacKenzie River in northwest Canada to Point Barrow in Alaska, and from the Coppermine River to the Back River. The book reports on geographic features, climate, and natives of the area. Simpson's explorations took place during 1836-39. He didn't live to see his book published four years later. Shortly after the beginning of a second expedition in 1840, Simpson died under mysterious circumstances. It is still unknown whether he was killed by companions or took his own life, and in either case, why. Item 121. $3,000.
Edmund Hillary may be the best known of the Everest climbers since he led the first successful expedition, but his most notable predecessor was Hugh Ruttledge. Ruttledge came close a couple of times in the 1930s, but never quite made it to the top. Item 118 is an account of his 1933 expedition, Everest 1933. $500. Item 117 recounts the 1937 attempt, The Unfinished Adventure. $325. While not successful, the Ruttledge expeditions established that it was just a matter of time before the mountain would be conquered.
Helen R. Kahn Rare Books may be found online at www.hrkahnbooks.com or reached by phone at 514-844-5344.