Home of the Blizzard

Sir Douglas MAWSON   |   W.A. HOLMAN

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Item#: 108957 price:$17,500.00

"WITH DEEP APPRECIATION OF ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT RENDERED THE EXPEDITION": RARE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF SIR DOUGLAS MAWSON'S HOME OF THE BLIZZARD, BOTH VOLUMES INSCRIBED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION BY HIM TO A KEY FIGURE IN THE EXPEDITION'S SUCCESS, W.A. HOLMAN, PREMIERE OF NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

MAWSON, Douglas. The Home of the Blizzard: Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914. London: William Heinemann, (1915). Two volumes. Thick octavo, original gilt- and silver-stamped blue cloth. $17,500.

First edition of this classic account of Antarctic exploration, an exceptional presentation/association copy inscribed in both volumes in the year of publication to a fellow Australian, the Premier of New South Wales—in Volume I, "To the Hon. W.A. Holman with deep appreciation of assistance and support rendered the Expedition and with kind regards Douglas Mawson, June 1915," and in Volume II, "To W.A. Holman from the author—Douglas Mawson, June 1915." Mawson honored Holman's importance to the expedition by naming Holman's Dome after him. This copy also notably from the library of Australian historian and bibliophile Dr. George Mackaness with his bookplates. Profusely illustrated with 18 color plates, hundreds of black-and-white plates, numerous in-text illustrations and three color folding maps.

Leading the renowned Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-1914, scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson proved himself a true hero. While Mawson set up a main base in what would become George V Land, his team "explored nearly 2000 miles of coastline while sledge parties traversed some 4000 miles in the coastlands and hinterlands gaining scientific information of great value. In George V Land the explorers encountered one of the most stormy and crevasse-imperiled regions of the world; on one inland sledging expedition Mawson lost both his companions, and only survived himself by the exercise of iron determination, superb physique, and the unfailing courage evident in all his expeditions."

Mawson's "reports on geography, oceanography, glaciology, biology, terrestrial magnetism, and other scientific subjects proved of major importance" (Conrad, 208). Taurus 100. Fitzgerald 462. The recipient, William A. Holman, born in London, settled in Australia in 1888, where he became a dynamic leader of the New South Wales Labor Party. Famed as a "brilliant and popular politician," in 1913 he was named the 19th Premiere of New South Wales (Australian Dictionary of Biography). Holman was highly supportive of the Antarctic expedition. When Mawson struggled to finance publication of the groundbreaking Scientific Reports crucial to its documentation, Holman authorized the New South Wales government to take over the printing. Given that Mawson, unlike Scott and Shackleton, was a scientist, publication of Home of the Blizzard was not enough to "justify the cost of the expedition … [and] the responsibility for hard scientific results weighed more heavily on him" (Ayres, Mawson, 113-14).The Holman Dome, discovered by the AAE, was named by Mawson after W.A. Holman. This memorable copy is from the library of prominent Australian author, historian and bibliophile Dr. George Mackaness, with his bookplate in each volume. By the 1960s the library of Mackaness, "a major figure in Sydney literary circles… [held] probably the largest private collection of Australiana… He made notable contributions in three fields—as a teacher of English, as a historian who made available quantities of documentary material, and as a bibliophile who made the collecting of Australiana popular" (Australian Dictionary of Biography).

Interior with slight foxing as often, small closed marginal tear to one leaf not affecting image (I), small closed tears to upper margins of preliminary leaves not affecting text (II), some toning to spine of gilt- and silver-stamped original cloth, silver and gilt on covers bright. A near-fine presentation copy with a splendid provenance.

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