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Charcot's Second Antarctic Expedition


Summary Note

Jean-Baptiste Charcot, French explorer and oceanographer, made two Antarctic expeditions around the turn of the 20th century. These 17 lantern slides created from his second expedition of 1908 – 1910, were most likely used for presentation purposes.

Biographical Note

Jean-Baptiste Charcot was born July 15, 1867, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Fr.—died c. Sept. 16, 1936, at sea off Iceland. The French explorer and oceanographer led the third and fourth French expeditions to the Antarctic and carried out extensive charting in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The son of a distinguished neurologist, Charcot studied medicine and worked at the Hospital of Paris from 1890 to 1894, when he was also connected with the Pasteur Institute. He served as chief of the clinic of the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris from 1896 to 1898. Only after the death of his father did Charcot dedicate his life to maritime exploration—spending the rest of his life traversing the icy seas making significant scientific discoveries.

Scope and Content

On his first Antarctic expedition (1903–05) Charcot charted parts of the Palmer Archipelago, explored the Gerlache Strait, and sailed as far as the northern end of Adelaide Island. On his second expedition (1908–10) in the boat specifically designed for the expedition titled “Pourquoi Pas?” (Why Not?), he charted the coast to Alexander Island and discovered the Fallières Coast and the island that bears his name. Deception Island and Adelaide Island were charted in detail and 1,250 miles of coastline and newly discovered territory was surveyed.
In 1912 he published a two-volume report of his findings, Autour du pôle sud (“Around the South Pole”). These lantern slides were part of a large 20th-century photographic collection. The images are of the expedition ship, exploration activities, the Antarctic Peninsula and islands, icebergs, and penguins, and were probably part of a slide presentation given by Charcot upon his return to France on June 5th, 2010.


This is a six-folder archive containing 17 lantern slides. Each folder contains three lantern slides, except for the final folder, which contains two.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.125 cubic feet


English, French

Related Archive Collections

  • CAE1107: Stephen Eastaugh: Antarctic Work
  • CAE1103: Joan Myers: Wondrous Cold, An Antarctic Journey
  • CAE1116: Chris Drury: Antarctica
  • CAE1307: Chris Kannen: An Antarctic Extended Season
  • CAE1219: Stuart Klipper: The Antarctic: From the Circle to the Pole
  • CAE1218: Jean de Pomereu: Antarctic Photographs
  • CAE1217: Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid: Ice Music
  • CAE1202: David Rosenthal: Paintings of the North and South Polar Regions
  • CAE1112: Simon Balm: Stellar Axis, Antarctica
  • CAE1117: William L. Fox: Terra Antarctica
  • CAE1911: Donald Fortescue: Instrument (90°S)
  • CAE1910: Helen Glazer: Walking in Antarctica
  • CAE1903: David Arnold: Antarctic Re-Explorations
  • CAE1605: Anna McKee: 68,000 Years of Ice
  • CAE1806: Bruce Licher: Stamping Antarctica
  • CAE2013: Shaun O’Boyle: Polar Environments

Related Publications

Chapman, Walker. The Loneliest Continent: The Story of Antarctic Discovery. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1964.

Charcot, Jean. 1978. The Voyage of the 'Pourquoi-Pas?': The Journal of the Second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. London: B.C. Hurst.

Hemming, John, and The Royal Geographic Society. Atlas of Exploration. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Leane, Elizabeth and Jeffrey McGee, Eds. Anthropocene Antarctica: Perspectives from the Humanities, law and Social Sciences. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2020.

Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty. Ltd. Antarctica: The Extraordinary History of Man's Conquest of the Frozen Continent. Sydney, Australia; New York, N.Y., Reader's Digest, 1990.

Woodworth, Lynn. Antarctica: The Blue Continent. Noble Park, Vic., Australia: Five Mile Press, 2002.

Woodworth, Lynn. Antarctica: The Complete Story. Auckland, New Zealand: Random House New Zealand, 2001.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 238

    • Folder 1 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 1-3, 1910
    • Folder 2 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 4-6, 1910
    • Folder 3 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 7-9, 1910
    • Folder 4 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 10-12, 1910
    • Folder 5 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 13-15, 1910
    • Folder 6 The Voyage of the Pourquoi Pas? Slides 17-18, 1910