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Encyclopedia Artica (1947-1951)



  • Existence: 1947 - 1951

“Encyclopedia Arctica” is the manuscript of a proposed 20-volume reference work -- about 5 million words -- on the northern arctic and sub arctic regions. Its impetus derived from the strategic concerns of the Cold War era, but paradoxically it seems to have perished in the very milieu (see Stefansson's memoranda and correspondence in these papers). The project was begun in 1947, under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research, Department of the Navy. In 1951 the Navy mysteriously withdrew its support after 3 or 4 million words had been written, with the cooperation -- at times voluntary and/or without remuneration -- of many governments (especially Canada), learned societies (e.g.., American Philosophical Society), and scholars from all over the world.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962) was the general editor, his visible contribution being especially devoted to the biography portion -- which includes ships. Excepting then biography, some of the other fields covered in the manuscript are: archaeology, anthropology, botany, engineering, geography, geology, history, law (including international relations); language, medicine, meteorology, oceanography, religion, zoology -- and special topics, as, the image of the arctic in Shakespeare.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Encyclopedia Arctica papers

Stefansson Mss-96
Identifier: Mss-96
Overview "Encyclopedia Arctica, reference work. (1947-1951). Contains manuscripts, correspondence, bibliographies and indexes of reference works related to northern arctic and sub arctic regions.