Papers of Vilhjalmur Stefansson
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Acquisition and Processing Information: These materials were transferred to the University Archives from Professor G.Edgar Folk, Jr., Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Guide created by Denise Anderson, June 2007.
Photographs: Box 1
Photograph by Frederick W. Kent appeared in the
Des Moines Register on February 6, 1930
Scope and Contents
These papers include biographical pamphlets, photographs, clippings, and correspondence. Later correspondence is regarding the creation of a bronze bust and holding the Stefansson Centennial Symposium in 1980.
Correspondents include President Walter A. Jessup, President Virgil M. Hancher, President Willard L. Boyd, Fred W. Sargent (Head, SUI Iowa Memorial Union), Dean Vernon P. Squires (University of North Dakota), Charles B. Maruth and H. C. Dorcas (SUI Office of the Registrar), Grace Van Wormer and Dale M. Bentz (SUI Libraries), F. G. Higbee (head, SUI Centennial Committee), Arlo Wilson, Robert E. Latimer, G. Edgar Folk, Jr. (Stefansson Centennial Committee), John E. Sater (Arctic Institute of North America), Gary A. Laursen (Naval Arctic Research Laboratory), professor Frank A. Pitelka (University of California, Berkeley), professor W. O. Pruitt, Jr., (University of Manitoba), Ron K. McGregor (Office of Naval Research), Max E. Britton (U. S. Geological Survey), John Bligh (University of Alaska, Fairbanks), Peter J. Anderson (Institute of Polar Studies, Ohio State University), Theodore A. Snyder, Jr. (President, Sierra Club), Max Brewer and John Schindler (directors, Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, Point Barrow), Paul Sampson (National Geographic Society), Olivier Héroux (Canadian Physiological Society), Dr. John Martin, Dr. Robert L. Van Citters (University of Washington), Walter Sullivan (New York Times), Vera Alexander (director, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Alaska), Jacque LeBlanc (Université Laval, Quebec), Warren W. Denner (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada), John G. Kemeny (President, Dartmouth College).
Much of this biographical note was drawn from Lynn Gordon Hughes' article, located online at the following Unitarian Universalist Historical Society Web page http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/vilhjalmurstefansson.html
Vilhjalmur E. Stefansson was born November 3, 1879, in the Icelandic community of Arnes, in Manitoba, Canada. His family moved to North Dakota when he was one year old. After being expelled from the University of North Dakota for challenging the authority of his professors, Stefansson enrolled at the University of Iowa, and earned his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in June 1903. From 1903 to 1904, Stefansson studied at the Harvard Divinity School. During 1906, he joined the Anglo-American polar expedition, and lived with Inuit people, adapting their lifestyle. Stefansson joined UI colleague Rudolph Anderson in an Arctic mission from 1908 to 1912. During this mission, Stefansson took an Inuit wife, Fannie Pannigabluk, and their son, Alex, was born in 1910. Anthropologist and explorer Stefansson is noted for discovering the “Blond Eskimo” in 1910.
Stefansson received an honorary doctorate at the University of Iowa, June 6, 1922, and an honorary law degree at the University of North Dakota in 1930. In the early 1950s, Stefansson and his second wife, Evelyn, were investigated for their Communist sentiments, and for their associations with radicals Emma Goldman and John Reed in New York, where Stefansson lived. Vilhjalmur Stefansson died August 26, 1962, in Hanover, New Hampshire.
[D. Anderson; 06/2007]
Folder, "Stefansson, Vilhjalmur," in Alumni and Former Students Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.01)
"Arctic Dreamer: The Lonely Quest of Vilhjalmur Stefansson," VHS tape by White Pine Pictures, Toronto, 2003
Kohler, Francis J. "History of the State University of Iowa: Scientific Expeditions, Collections, and the Museum of Natural History. " M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 1944.
Halas, Christine D. "The James A. Van Allen Papers" Books at Iowa 51:53-61 (November 1989)
Papers of June Helm (RG99.0018)
Russell, Frank "Explorations in the Far North, by Frank Russell. Being the Report of an Expedition Under the Auspices of the University of Iowa During the Years 1892, '93, and '94."
Box Contents List
---. "My Five Years in the Arctic," lecture announcement, 1919
---. Mattila, Robert. A Chronological Bibliography of the Published Works of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1978
---. Vilhjalmur Stefansson. New York: Nomad Publishing Company, 1925
Newspaper clippings, 1946 -1980
Photographs (by Gordon Searle) of dedication of Vilhjalmur Stefansson bronze bust, sculpted by Otto Hahn, 1980
Vilhjalmur Stefansson 22-cent postage stamp, issued 1986
---. Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. "The Near Way is North -- by Plane." Peace is a Process: Selected Articles from 'The Rotarian' Magazine Charting Postwar Opportunities Created by New Forces in World Affairs (January 1945): 105-106.
---. Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. "The Necessity of Cooperating With Russia." U.S.S.R. Society for Cultural Relations With Foreign Countries (VOKS). In Defence [sic] of Civilization Against Fascist Barbarism. Statements, Letters and Telegrams From Prominent People. (1941):95
---. William M. Furnish review of "Vilhjalmur Stefansson and the Development of Arctic Terrestrial Science," edited by G. Edgar Folk, Jr., and Mary Arp Folk. Arctic Journal, vol. 39, no. 3, (1984) p.280-282