Forgot your password? | Register Here

NYC - Lecture Series w/ Sheldon Bart

Byrd vs Amundsen:
Who Really Was the First to Fly to the North Pole?

One hundred years ago—then as now—the eyes of the industrialized world were on the Arctic. It was widely held in this era that a new, uncharted continent would be found in the Arctic Ocean. Scientific treatises were written “proving” its existence. As aviation developed, the mythical land became endowed with commercial value and strategic importance.

This was the context in which Richard Byrd (1888-1957) emerged as an explorer, an international quest for a mythic grail. His rivals included Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth, and Hubert Wilkins. The Arctic was considered as remote as outer space in the 1920s, and aerial exploits north of the Arctic Circle attracted a tremendous amount of attention. The New York Times called the race “the greatest story of the year.” The sensationalism, however, has never ended. Byrd’s flight to the North Pole has been bitterly disputed for the better part of a century, and almost every part of his early life and career has become controversial. Race to the Top of the World offers compelling new evidence and new revelations to substantiate its thesis that the Byrd controversies are based on incomplete research, distortion, and superficial assessment.

Writer-explorer Sheldon Bart was the leader of the 1996 American Expedition to Baffin Island in the Canadian Eastern Arctic. The American Expedition returned to the Putnam Highland, a strange, remote and desolate location first surveyed in 1927 by the New York publisher George Palmer Putnam, the man who later married Amelia Earhart. The 1996 expedition rediscovered certain picturesque, geographical features in an area abounding with the fossilized remains of marine animals that lived hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs. Those features were named by G. P. Putnam for celebrated explorers of his era but are not identified on the standard topographic maps.

Bart has extensively researched the era of exploration between the world wars. He is a senior associate of LAPA/Laurence A. Pagnoni & Associates, a consulting firm based in New York City; a member of the Board of Governors of the American Polar Society; and president and founder of Wilderness Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to create more opportunities for scientific exploration beyond the limited regime of government funding. Wilderness Research Foundation launched its initial project in January 2010, with a team from the University of Maryland conducting an investigation of the decomposition of ancient organic carbon on King George Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Bart served as project manager. He returned to the Arctic in the summer of 2011 as a historian/lecturer aboard the MS Expedition.

His previous publications include a novel, Ruby Sweetwater and the Ringo Kid, and a creative work of non-fiction, Beatrice: The Untold Story of a Legendary Woman of Mystery.

Date: 01/13/2013

Time: 6:00 Reception, 7:00 Lecture

Location: NYC Headquarters, 46 E70th Street, NY, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free to EC Student Members, $5 w/ valid student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

To make a reservation, email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call us at 212.628.8383

Back to top
The Explorers Club ®, World Center for Exploration ®, The Flag and the Seal are registered trademarks of The Explorers Club. Use by others is strictly prohibited. Photographs appearing on this website are used by permission and may not be copied or re-used in any manner.

Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste