Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A 1911 Boy's Handkerchief, Polar Exploration, and Walrus Hunting

I love this handkerchief I bought from eBay many years ago. A card shows it was from Howard White, and a on a paper is written, "Howard from Uncle Eddie, Dec. 25, 1911."

In 1911 polar exploration was romantic and dangerous. Polar Explorers were the Astronauts of the 19th c. It was only two years before, in 1909 that Robert Peary reached the North Pole after years of failure.What child's imagination would not have thrilled to the portrayed polar walrus hunt, the men surrounded by icebergs?

Although the walrus on the handkerchief are Arctic animals it was the South Pole that was in the news in 1911. British Robert Falcon Scott was trudging across Antarctica in a race to the South Pole, arriving on January 17, 1912 only to discover that Norwegian Roald Amundsen had reached the pole first, on Dec. 14, 1911. Only 11 days before Eddie was given this handkerchief.

Scott never made it back. As a girl I read and reread about Scott's expedition in dad's book The Great White South by Herbert Ponting. He was my ultimate tragic hero.