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National Maritime Museum

Franklin, Captain Sir John (1786-1847)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 FRN

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Franklin, Captain Sir John (1786-1847)

Date(s): 1819-1845

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 1 vol

Name of creator(s): Franklin | Sir | John | 1786-1847 | Knight | Rear Admiral | Arctic explorer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Franklin entered the Navy in 1800. He served as midshipman under his cousin, Captain Matthew Flinders from 1801 to 1803, surveying the coasts of Australia. He began his Arctic career as second-in-command to Captain David Buchan (d c 1839) during the Spitsbergen expedition of 1818. From 1819 to 1822 he commanded an expedition down the Coppermine River of Canada to the Arctic Ocean. From 1825 to 1827 he commanded a second expedition to the Arctic Ocean down the Mackenzie River. He was knighted in 1829. Franklin was in the Mediterranean from 1830 to 1833 and between 1833 and 1844 was Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). In 1845 at the age of fifty-nine, he took command of an expedition in search of the North-West Passage in the EREBUS and TERROR. He died on board the EREBUS off King William Island. See Sir J Franklin, 'Narrative of the journey to the shores of the Polar Seas in the years 1819, 1820, 21 and 22' (London, 1823) and 'Narrative of a second expedition to the shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1825, 1826 and 1827' (London, 1828). Among a number of biographies is Richard J. Cyriax, Sir John Franklin's Last Arctic Expedition (London, 1939).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir John Franklin. They consist of a volume of bound letters written by Sir John Franklin between 1820 and 1845 to his niece Mary Anne Kay and to Lieutenant Edward Kendall, R.N., whom she later married. Several letters refer to Franklin's second overland expedition. His last letter was written in 1845 at the Whale Fish Islands. There are other letters relating to exploration and some Arctic material including prints and manuscript copies of the New Georgia Gazette of 1819.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were purchased by Sir James Caird in 1938.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Explorers | People by roles | People
Geographical exploration | Geography

Personal names
Franklin | Sir | John | 1786-1847 | Knight | Rear Admiral | Arctic explorer

Corporate names