Knud Rasmussen

Knud Rasmussen, a Greenlandic/ Danish Arctic explorer and anthropologist, was born June 7, 1879. He is probably the most accomplished polar explorer that hardly anyone has heard of. In 1910, he set up a base…

Robert Schomburgk

Robert Hermann Schomburgk, a German/ English explorer and surveyor, was born June 5, 1804. After an early career in commerce that gave him nothing but grief, he decided to have a go at surveying and, at his own expense, mapped the little-explored island of Anegada in the Virgin Islands. He sent the fruits of his labors to the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in London…

Lorenzo Sitgreaves

Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a U.S. Army officer and explorer, died May 14, 1888; his age and date of birth are unknown. In 1849, a Topographical Engineer named James Simpson had led an expedition to survey the country west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Simpson survey got as far as the Zuni pueblo in western New Mexico before turning back. In 1851, Sitgreaves was ordered to continue the survey west, to the Colorado River and thence all the way to the Gulf of California. One person he inherited from the Simpson expedition was Richard H. Kern, an expedition artist…

Henry Foster

Henry Foster, a British scientist and naval officer, died Feb. 5, 1831; his date of birth is unknown. Foster participated in several expeditions to the Arctic between 1823 and 1827. On the first of these, he assisted the Army officer and physicist Edward Sabine as he used a pendulum to try to establish the exact force of gravity at various locations in the Greenland Sea. On the second voyage, 1824, Foster accompanied Edward Parry in an attempt to navigate through the Arctic archipelago. The quest was unsuccessful, but Foster’s magnetic and pendulum studies so impressed the Royal Society that he was awarded the Copley medal, the Society’s highest annual award…

John Mix Stanley

John Mix Stanley, an American painter and explorer, was born Jan. 17, 1814. Stanley went west with the northernmost of the Pacific Railroad Surveys that headed out in the early 1850s. The Stevens expedition, as it was called after the leader, Isaac Stevens, followed the path of Lewis and Clark–up the Missouri river, across the Rockies, and down the Columbia. Stanley was chosen as expedition artist because he already had a high reputation for his depictions of native Americans…