Entry relating to the Aurora Australis from the upcoming

Additions and Corrections Supplement to


by Michael H. Rosove. (Santa Monica, California: Adélie Books, 2001)

ISBN 0-9705386-3-4.

Used here by kind permission of the author.

Note: Material removed shown in red strikethrough; new material shown in blue.


[From Section I

Primary and Selected Secondary Publications]



304.  [Shackleton, Ernest Henry, editor.] Aurora Australis.


304.A1. Published at the / winter quarters of the British / Antarctic Exped / ition, 1907, during / the winter mon / ths of April, May, / June, July, 1908. [etc.]

c.  The illustration “Many Shekels Were Needed for the Ship To Go Forth.” (leaf 63 verso) is replaced by duplicate text7 (that of leaf 63 recto8) is not present, and both recto and verso contain variant text; without the final printed leaf “A Giant Tick Was Investigating the Carcase.” —— Renard 1436. Likely the first state of leaf 63.[1] Seven copies to date confirmed extant.[2]

d.  Miscellaneous variants. Missing one or more printed leaves, as produced, and/or lacking the blue sky and aurora on the title leaf, or lacking the black horizontally oriented object atop the hill on the title leaf.


95 unpaginated leaves: 13 coldest oldest . . . bags; 63 therein . . . should; [plate, title beneath] Many Shekels Were Needed for the Ship To Go Forth.; 63 [variant text, 304.A1c] therein . . . Go to,; what is . . . which should;


1st (Bluntisham) facsimile edition (with the “Many Shekels” leaf 63).

304.B1. Alburgh, Harleston, Norfolk: Bluntisham Books, Paradigm Press, 1986.


2nd (SeTo) facsimile edition (with the “variant text” first state of leaf 63).

304.C1. Auckland: SeTo Publishing, 1988.

The strongest evidence to date concerning the number of copies of the original edition produced comes from a presentation letter accompanying the copy in the Morgan Library & Museum at 225 Madison Ave., New York, New York 10016.[3] The letter also shows that copies were distributed rather slowly over a number of years.


                                                                 Marlborough Club,

                                                                                                           Pall Mall, S.W.

25th July 1911


Dear Mr. Pierpont Morgan

       Mr. Oliver Locker Lampson has told me of your generous help to the scientific results of my Expedition. I much appreciate this and as a slight remembrance of your kindness would ask you to accept the book I send you:

       This is the 1st book ever printed in the Polar Regions. It was written by members of the Expedition: printed and bound in the Antarctic, the covers are made out of our provision cases, and the whole was done during the long polar night: There are only 80 copies in existence that being the number printed and only 30 have been distributed.

                                                                                                 Again thanking you

                                                                                                                  Believe me

                                                                                                                 Yours truly

                                                                                                     Ernest Shackleton


Sixty-one copies to date are listed in an ongoing census, but because unique identifiers do not accompany the descriptions of most copies, some reports may be duplicative.[4]




[1] Greene, Martin. “Aurora Australis (1908), Edited by Ernest H. Shackleton: A New Description of the First State of the First Book Published on the Antarctic Continent.” In, Book Talk: Essays on Books, Booksellers, Collecting, and Special Collections (Robert H. Jackson and Carol Z. Rothkopf, editors). New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2006. pp. 69-79.

[2] Ongoing census by Robert Stephenson and Martin Greene.

[3] Brought to attention by Robert Stephenson.

[4] Robert Stephenson, personal communication.