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George Frizzell (1910-1983) Papers

George Frizzell (1910-1983) Papers

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GEORGE FRIZZELL (1910-1983) PAPERS, 1917-1970

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Frizzell, George, 1910-1983
Title:George Frizzell (1910-1983) Papers
Quantity:3.25 linear feet (5 boxes, 2 flat files)
Abstract:The George Frizzell papers contain papers relating to Frizzell's participation in Admiral Richard E. Byrd's second Antarctic expedition, which took place from 1933 until 1935.
Collection Number:MH 103

Series List

SERIES I. Byrd Antarctic Expedition II
SERIES II. Personal Papers
SERIES III. Photographs
A. Expedition
B. Other

Scope and Content Note

The George Frizzell papers contain papers relating to Frizzell's participation in Admiral Richard E. Byrd's second Antarctic expedition, which took place from 1933 until 1935. The collection also contains personal papers and photographs from the expedition and Frizzell's personal life. This collection has been divided into three series.

Series I. Byrd Antarctic Expedition II contains official and personal papers relating to Richard E. Byrd's second Antarctic expedition and the barkentine Bear of Oakland. Included in this series is a journal/photograph album which Frizzell kept during the expedition; he finished compiling it when he returned home. At the beginning of the journal, Frizzell wrote down the agreement of association on joint venture of exploration to Antarctic regions that all of those involved in the expedition would have signed. The pages of the journal/photograph album have been removed from the original metal binding for preservation reasons and the original binding has been kept. There is another journal, song book, and miscellaneous notes included in this series as well. Ship's papers from the Bear of Oakland are included in this series, which include requisitions for supplies, instructions for conduct, news updates received from around the world, and a blueprint of the Bear of Oakland. Also included are invitations and programs from events held in honor of the expedition, news clippings about the expedition and Byrd, materials about the possible establishment of a Byrd Polar Center in Boston, drawings and sketches by Frizzell related to the expedition, and ephemera collected by Frizzell about the expedition.

Series II. Personal Papers contains materials not directly related to the expedition. Included in this series is correspondence, received and sent both during and after the expedition. There are also items that Frizzell collected such as maps, articles on sea horses, post cards, and other souvenirs from his travels. There is a folder of miscellaneous items which includes a booklet of questions and answers from volume one of the Mariner's Guide, and a "Supplement to General Information Concerning Patents Pamphlet."

Series III. Photographs contains photographs taken, presumably by Frizzell, while participating in Byrd's expedition and of personal photographs taken after the expedition. A few of the photographs are attributed to other people. This series has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Expedition contains photographs and some negatives taken during the expedition. The photographs includes scenes of and from the ships, mostly of the Bear of Oakland, and of Antarctica and Little America, the base camp. There are photographs of individuals and groups of people (some of whom are identified), the dog sled teams, wildlife, and of the hunting of wildlife. The majority of the expedition photographs are labeled but not dated. Included in this subseries are a few negatives. Subseries B. Other contains photographs of Panama and New Zealand, photographs of family members, and of other places, some of which are identified. There are also negatives of what appear to be paintings; some of these have a name on them other than Frizzell.

Biographical Sketch

George James Frizzell Jr. was born on April 9, 1910 to George J. and Helen (Gallagher) Frizzell in Boston, Massachusetts. He served on board the barkentine Bear of Oakland, which took part in the second Byrd expedition to Antarctica from 1933 to 1935, and the first (1933) and second trips (1935) to the Bay of Whales. Frizzell was listed as an engine room hand, but acted in many different capacities, including delivering supplies from the ship to Little America (Byrd's base camp) on a seven-dog freight sled and on snow tractors; he also worked as a fireman on board the ship.

Purchased by Admiral Richard Byrd in 1931 through a public auction in Oakland, California, the Bear of Oakland was sailed to Boston where it joined Byrd's other ship, the Jacob Ruppert, and received an extensive overhaul in preparation for its job as supply ship and ice breaker on the expedition. The Bear, as it was often referred to, left Boston on September 25, 1933. Due to damage received in a storm in route to Panama, the Bear was forced to return to Newport News for dry-docking. The ship sailed from Newport News on November 1, and met up with the rest of the expedition three months later. After delivering its goods at the Bay of Whales, the Bear and its crew spent the winter at Dunedin, New Zealand, returning to the Bay of Whales and other areas with supplies and to ferry the scientists while they carried out experiments in the water.

Frizzell appears to have had three children. He died on November 28, 1983.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Byrd Antarctic Expedition
Antarctica--Discovery and exploration


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

George Frizzell (1910-1983) Papers, MH 103, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by George J. Frizzell on April 12, 1974 (acc #20,328).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, May 2015.

Related Material Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

Byrd, Richard E. Discovery: The Story of the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935.

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