U Of I’s Role In ‘A Wretched And Precarious Situation’

December 13, 2016
 
A polar bear watches Arctic explorers on the Crocker Land expedition.

A polar bear watches Arctic explorers on the Crocker Land expedition.

Spurlock Museum

About a century ago, a group of explorers --- two with ties to the University of Illinois --- set out to find Crocker Land. Robert Peary had claimed to see the large land mass in the Arctic Ocean during an earlier attempt to reach the North Pole. The expedition lasted four years, without ever finding Crocker Land, which turned out not to exist.

Now, historian David Welky with the University of Central Arkansas has chronicled the affair in a new book, “A Wretched and Precarious Situation,” available from W.W. Norton.

Illinois Public Media’s Brian Moline spoke with Welky about his book, and how the U of I’s Elmer Ekblaw became an unlikely part of the Crocker Land expedition.

In this bonus web interview, Welky discusses the expedition's leader, Donald McMillan, and other aspects of the fateful journey.

You can also see some artifacts from the Crocker Land expedition at the Spurlock Museum on the University of Illinois Urbana campus.

Story source: WILL