An offprint from the “Izvestiya Imperatorskogo Russkogo Geografisheskogo Obshchestva” (Vol. L, issues III and IV, 1914). Petrograd: Typo-Lith. “Energiya,” 1914. First and only edition. Small Quarto (ca. 23,5x16 cm). 42,  pp. With a large folding chromolithographed map at rear. Original publisher’s wrappers. A beautiful copy in very good condition.
Very rare Russian imprint with only three paper copies found in Worldcat (all in Dartmouth College, NH). Historically significant first publication of the original logbook of Russian schooner “St. Anna,” documenting its 1912-1914 exploratory expedition to the Kara Sea and north of Franz Josef Land archipelago. The expedition leader, ambitious naval officer and Arctic explorer Georgy Brusilov aimed to become the first Russian navigator to go through the entire Northeast Passage, from the Kola Peninsula along the Arctic coast of Siberia and via Bering Strait to Vladivostok, following the route of Adolf Erik Nordenskiold. In September 1912, “St. Anna” entered the Kara Sea through the Yugorsky Shar Strait but soon became icebound near the western shores of the Yamal Peninsula and started drifting north. The vessel didn’t get released from the ice for the next year and a half, ending up north of Franz Josef Land. On April 10, 1914, a part of the crew led by navigator Valerian Albanov (1882-1919) left the ship and marched through the ice south towards Franz Josef Land. Having been carried by a hitherto unknown East Spitzbergen current, the party reached the westernmost point of the Alexandra Land and thence managed to get to Cape Flora on the Northbrook Island, losing all but two expedition members (Albanov and seaman Alexander Konrad). The two survivors were rescued by “St. Phocas,” a ship of another Russian Arctic expedition under the command of Georgy Sedov, who during the same time (1912-1914) tried to reach the North Pole but died near the northernmost island of Franz Josef Land. “St. Anna” and its remaining crew, headed by Brusilov, apparently died in the Arctic. In 2010, a Russian search expedition to Franz Josef Land found period artifacts and manuscripts belonging to the members of Aldanov’s party. The fate of “St. Anna” remains unknown.
Albanov brought to Saint Petersburg a copy of “St. Anna’s” original logbook, covering the period from August 28, 1912 (O.S.), when the ship departed Alexandrovsk in Kola Bay (now Polyarny, Murmansk Oblast), to April 10, 1914 (O.S.), when Albanov’s party left “St. Anna” in the ice of the Arctic Ocean. Later that same year, the manuscript was simultaneously published in the official magazines of the Russian Geographical Society (“Izvestiya Imperatorskogo Russkogo Geografisheskogo Obshchestva”/“News of the Russian Imperial Geographical Society,” Vol. L, issues III and IV, 1914, pp. 193-241) and of the Chief Hydrographical Department of the Naval Ministry (“Zapiski po Gidrografii”/ “Notes on Hydrography,” vol. 38, issue 4, 1914, pp. 1-76).
Our copy is a well-preserved offprint from the “News of the Russian Geographical Society,” published, like all such editions, with a small print run. The text of Brusilov’s logbook documents the main proceedings on board “St. Anna,” traditionally indicating geographical coordinates, the ship’s track, directions of the wind, sea depths, weather and air temperatures, &c. The table at rear lists the measured sea depths. The work is supplemented with a chromolithographed map, compiled by the officers of the Chief Hydrographical Department and based on the data from the logbook. The map outlines the track of “St. Anna’s” free movement across the Barents Sea, her ice-bound voyage in the Kara Sea from the Yamal Peninsula to Franz Josef land, the track of Aldanov’s party through the ice, and “St. Phocas’” return trip to the Kola Peninsula. “St. Anna’s ” ice-bound track records the dates and measured sea depths – the information which allowed scientists to define the borders of the continental shelf and discover the deep-water St. Anna Trench between the Barents and Kara Seas. The other scientific achievements of “St. Anna’s” expedition are the discovery of the Eastern Spitzbergen current, the improvement of maps of Franz Josef Land and the proof of the non-existence of King Oskar Land and Peterman Land. Overall a rare, historically significant account of a Russian Arctic expedition in the Northeast Passage. Our research didn’t reveal any translations into foreign languages. The second Russian publication of “St. Anna’s” logbook was made in 1934 (as a part of: Zateryannye vo Ldakh: Polyarnaya ekspeditsiya G.L. Brusilova na zveroboynom sudne “Sv. Anna.” L., 1934).