Last Update: 30 July 2008


1. General accounts of Franklin's life

I've recently been working on a new article on Franklin for the Citizendium wiki, as well as a larger entry on the Northwest Passage. I also helped write a new entry on Franklin's lost expedition for the Wikipedia, as well as for Tookoolito.

My new knol on Arctic Exploration discusses Franklin alongside other explorers of his era.

"Sir John Franklin: His Life and Afterlife," by Russell A. Potter

The National Library of Canada has a new Franklin site designed for young readers on its "Passageways" web site.

2. Online Texts, Articles,  and Images Relating to Franklin

"ARCTIC PASSAGE: PRISONERS OF THE ICE," the new Franklin documentary in which I appear, aired in the U.S. on Tuesday, February 28th as an episode of PBS's acclaimed NOVA series. Click here for a link to the companion website. On May 9th, it was released in the US as a handsomely-produced DVD.

After many requests, I have placed complete crew lists of the "Erebus" and "Terror" on my site -- amateur genealogists can now go here (you'd be surprised how many requests I get from would-be -- and a few real -- Franklin and Franklin crew descendents)

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK, has  an exemplary new online collection of images and artifacts related to the search for the North-West Passage.

The CD-Books Homepage offers an impressive range of sample images and texts from their new electronic editions of Franklin's original narratives, along with the narratives of George Back, and with an edition of Ross's narrative of his 1829-1833 expedition in the works.

Have a look at the only surviving representation of a scene from The Frozen Deep, n 1856 play by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins based in large part on the drama of the Franklin Expedition. You can also read an online text of Collins's prose adaptation of The Frozen Deep.

Read an 1852 newspaper article  on the problem of spoilage with tins of Goldner's Patent Meats, similar to those supplied the Franklin Expedition

If you're in need of a good laugh, drop by the Hapless Dilettante News for their facetious reportage,"Sir John Franklin Reported Missing"

The Canadian Encyclopedia has an interactive essay on Franklin's expeditions which features an image of the body of John Torrington, hitherto quite hard to find on the web.

To see some astonishing images of items and artifacts in the collection of the Hudson's Bay Company related to Sir John Franklin, drop by the  HBC Archive Pages at Canada's Schoolnet.

Look at a programme from an 1852 Panorama about Franklin at the Linwood Gallery, Leicester-Square, London. I also have a scan of a rare daguerreotype image of an Arctic moving panorama, with a man (the artist?) standing at the side, courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center has two excellent illustrated pages that give details of Franklin's activities -- one focuses on Franklin's land expedition, which used Deline ("Fort Franklin") as its base, and another which looks at Beechey Island -- the site of Franklin's first winter camp, where the graves of three Franklin expedition members were found by searches.

The Bodleian Library has an image of an 1850 letter to Benjamin Disraeli from Lady Jane Franklin pleading for further search expeditions (note: this image is copyrighted, so this link is not direct. Please read and observe the Bodleian's policy on images on its site).

The Ice Services office of Environment Canada has charts and satellite images of the regions in which Franklin and his men perished.

3. Other sites related indirectly to Franklin

Sir Martin Frobisher sailed to Baffin Island in the 1570's in quest of gold -- but it turned out to be a fool's errand. The black rocks he brought back were nonetheless put to good use; drop by Frobisher's Black Gold and have a look at where the stones found their final rest.

Charles Francis Hall, a former newspaperman from Ohio, spent years in the Arctic collecting Inuit oral tradition and retracing Franklin's steps, after which he was himself the captain of the ill-fated USS Polaris expedition to the North Pole (Hall was poisoned with arsenic by a member of his crew, and after being separated from the ship, the survivors drifted for weeks on an ice floe before being finally rescued).

There is also a new webpage devoted to Charles Francis Hall located in his former hometown of Cincinnati.

Catch up on the latest in the soon-to-be territory of Nunavut by reading this week's issue of the Nunatsiaq News.

The University of Connecticut's excellent Arctic Circle site includes information on Arctic Exploration, Inuit culture and history, and environmental and political issues in the circumpolar regions.

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds many items related to Franklin, and sponsors a wide variety of scientific and historical research in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. They also publish The Polar Record.

Arctic Dawn: The Journeys of Samuel Hearne, is an excellent multimedia site featuring the observations of Franklin's key predecessor in Arctic land exploration.


4. Sir John Franklin: recent books.

Martin Sandler's new book, Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship, will be published in October of 2006 by Sterling Publishing. I've written a foreword for this book, the first full recounting of the story of HMS Resolute, and its role in the Franklin search in well over a century; some of its many illustrations are also drawn from my collection of Franklin newspaper ephemera.

Martyn Beardsley's biography, Deadly Winter: The Life of Sir John Franklin, was published in 2002 by the Naval Institute Press. You can read my review of this book, along with some associated links, in the Spring 2002 issue of the Arctic Book Review.

John Wilson's magnificent novel, North With Franklin: The Journals of James Fitzjames, was published in Canada by Fitzhenry and Whiteside, and has recently been issued in a paperback edition.

In The Voyage of the Narwhal, Andrea Barrett tells a fictionalized tale of a Franklin searcher and his claustrophobic crew; you can join a reading group on this book at the W.W. Norton website.

Harold B. Gill Jr. and Joanne Young have recently edited an illustrated edition of the journal of Robert Randolph Carter, an officer on the First Grinnell Expedition. Published under the title Searching for the Franklin Expedition, it is available from the Naval Institute Press.

In I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination, Francis Spufford offers his take on how earlier expeditions, such as Franklin's, influenced the Antarctic expeditions of Robert Falcon Scott; for details, you can read my review from the Arctic Book Review.


4. Other Franklin Websites

A certain Mr. E.C. Coleman of Lincolnshire has a provocative page on Franklin which re-ignites any number of controversies over Franklin, including cannibalism, lead poisoning, and food poisoning.

There is now an excellent page on Sir John Franklin in Spanish, amply illustrated, entitled Muerte en el Artico


5. Franklin-related maps and imagery.

A page documenting a recent updating of nautical charts in the vicinity of King William Island offers vivid satellite imagery and charts of the area of Starvation Cove and Kirkwall Island, among others.

The POLARLYS site includes some dramatic contemporary photographs of human remains on King William Island, as well as the Franklin gravsites on Beechey Island and the Bellot Monument.


6. Links to recent and current expeditions searching for traces of Franklin's expedition.

Get the latest updates on the Arctic searches -- all based on Inuit testimony -- conducted by David C. Woodman, as well as official reports of his earlier expeditions, by going to the Searching for Franklin section of my website.

The Franklin Trail website has pages on a number of recent expeditions to King William Island. The page for the 1993 expedition, which recovered the bones of a number of Franklin crew-members, is particularly fascinating.

Wayne Davidson's recently-expanded Franklin web site, Sir John Franklin was Here! is truly unique. Wayne was a member of an expedition which examined a decayed boat found by an Inuk hunter on Prince of Wales Island. It turned out to be a Franklin-era whaleboat, and its keel-piece closely matches those supplied to Franklin's ships in size and shape; Wayne has posted some amazing color images of the boat in situ, along with his reflections on the history of Franklin and the Inuit.

Read the description and daily trail logs of the 1998 Boothia Expedition on the Franklin Trail site.

Read the daily logs of John Harrington's1998 expedition to Victory Point on King William Island on the 150th anniversary of the abandonment of Franklin's ships.

This page maintained by Dr. Russell A. Potter. If you have any comments, or information on other Franklin materials on the web, feel free to contact me at: