The first book letterpress printed in Antarctica 1907

Aurora australis. Typ 100.908

The Aurora Australis was the first book ever printed and published in Antarctica. Produced by Sir Ernest Shackleton and members of his British Polar Expedition in 1907-08.

Around 100 copies were created whilst they over wintered before beginning their failed journey to the South Pole in 1908. Using letterpress, lithography and etchings the team produced images, poems, stories and documentation of their day to day life.

There are more images and information about the book on the blog of  Harvard’s Houghton Library, who have a copy of the book.

Here is an excerpt from the blog about the ‘printers’ and equipment.

“Immediately before the expedition set sail in 1907, Wild and another petty officer, Ernest Joyce, took a crash course in typesetting and letterpress printing. A traditional seven-year apprenticeship was compressed into three weeks’ intense training by the renowned London firm of Sir Joseph Causton and Sons Ltd., who equipped Shackleton with a miniature printing plant: two presses (a 10′ x 7′ Albion and a small etching press, labelled “printing machine” and “printing press” in the hut plan below), high-quality handmade paper with handsome deckle edges and a generous supply of ink.”

Aurora australis. Typ 100.908

Aurora australis. Typ 100.908


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