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Greely, Adolphus Washington, 1844-1935



  • Existence: 1844 - 1935


Adolphus Washington Greely was born on March 27, 1844 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He entered the United States Army as a volunteer private in 1861 and fought in the Civil War and in the Indian campaigns in the West, serving in both infantry and cavalry. In 1881, First Lieutenant Greely was given command of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition on the ship "Proteus." Promoted by Henry W. Howgate, its purpose was to establish one of a chain of meteorological-observation stations as part of the First International Polar Year. Commonly known as the Greely Expedition, the expedition had some success in gathering weather data and geographic information, and also in reaching a new "farthest north." However, it is remembered for its disintegration and the deaths of nineteen of its twenty-five members, caused primarily by the failures of the relief expeditions of 1882 and 1883 to reach Greely's party. In June 1886, he was promoted to Captain after serving twenty years as a Lieutenant and, in March 1887, President Grover Cleveland appointed him as Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army. During his tenure he supervised the extension of communication facilities throughout U.S. possessions. All the while, he was writing studies and reports on weather for the government and, independently, articles and books mostly on polar conditions and exploration. Greely died on October 20, 1935.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Adolphus W. Greely papers

Identifier: Mss-64
Stefansson Mss-64
Date(s): 1876 to 1973

A.W. Greely (1844-1935), polar explorer and army officer. Consist of papers related to his career as a Polar explorer, including materials related to the Lady Franklin Expedition.

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