Byrd, Richard E., Little America: Aerial Exploration in the Antarctic, The Flight to the South Pole. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1930. First edition. Octavo. Presented in quarter royal blue Moroccan leather and cloth binding, with gilt titles and stamps to the spine, and a new archival slipcase.
Presented is the first edition printing of Richard E. Byrd's book, Little America: Aerial Exploration in the Antarctic, The Flight to the South Pole. It was published in New York by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1930. The book has been handsomely rebound in quarter royal blue Moroccan leather and cloth binding, with gilt titles and stamps to the spine, and a new archival slipcase.
Rear admiral Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) was an American naval officer and recipient of the United States Medal of Honor. Byrd was also known as a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Little America is Byrd’s account of his first expedition to the South Pole.
In 1928-30, Byrd led a private expedition to Antarctica with the intention of emulating at the South Pole his achievement of 1926 when he and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole. The expedition was well equipped with three aircraft, all adapted for high altitude flying in cold conditions, 95 dogs, and a team of over 50 men. Byrd established a base camp east of the Bay of Whales on the Ross Ice Shelf, which he named “Little America.” It was from there that all of Byrd and his team’s scientific expeditions were launched.
On November 28, 1929, the first flight to the South Pole and back was launched by Byrd, his pilot Bernt Balchen, co-pilot and radioman Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley. They flew the three-engine, 975-horsepower Floyd Bennett to the South Pole and back in 18 hours, 41 minutes. They had difficulty gaining enough altitude, and they had to dump empty gas tanks, as well as their emergency supplies, to achieve the altitude of the Polar Plateau, but they were ultimately successful.
Byrd's expedition bore witness to a shift from the “Heroic Age” of Antarctic exploration to the “Mechanical Age.” The same journey which had taken previous explorers Roald Amundsen 90 days and from which Captain Robert Scott did not return was accomplished by Byrd and his team in under 19 hours.
Complete with illustrations and maps, Little America outlines the harrowing and exciting expedition as well as provides a glimpse into the obstacles Byrd and his team overcame at the world’s end.
Very good condition. Octavo. Rebound in quarter blue Moroccan leather and cloth boards with raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt stamps to the spine. Interior pages are in overall good condition, with only slight toning due to age. The book is presented with a new archival slipcase with Byrd’s photograph inlaid on the front.
Dimensions: 9 1/2" H x 6 7/8" W x 2" D (Book). 10" H x 7" W x 2 3/8" D (Slipcase).