At the last moment I have been induced to destroy a large part of the present chapter and to rewrite many parts of a book that has already been set up in type.
the purpose being to save Mr. Noice embarrassment. This needs explaining. In its original form this book contained a long and exhaustive analysis of Mr. Harold Noices by Mr. Noice, and alleging bad judgement and incompetence on the part of the members of the expedition besides conveying totally wrong impressions of the cause of the eventual tragedy. The whole difficulty has been a source of anxiety and financial loss on my and of an amazing a series of what appeared to me unethical actions on his part. That analysis was designed to correct the Wrangel Island story given to the press part but these are small matters as compared with the harm done to the My chief concern was to make straight the record memory of the gallant men who died on Wrangel Island. When the proofs of this book had been corrected, and wWithin a week of going to press, Mr. Noice on his own iniative prepared and has authorized me to publish the following explanation and apology. This I gladly do though it has involved a heavy trouble and delay in striking out from a book already in type additional printers' bill to strike out the proofs of the errors which Mr. Noice now acknowledges and for which he wishes to atone.
New York, October 16, 1924.
Mr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, American Geographical Society, Broadway at 156th Street, New York, N. Y.
On my return last week from Brazil where I have spent six months, mainly in recuperating after a very severe attacks of nervous prostration,
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I re-read the documents of the Wrangel Island Expedition with the exception of Milton Galle's diary; and I have also re-read the stories which appeared
in the news papers over my signature
of the North American Newspaper Allians over my signature. I am glad to take this opportunity of correcting some misjudgments. Having spent a number of years in the Arctic and loving the Arctic and believing in it as a habitable place, I wanted to show that Wrangel Island was valuable, a very good game country, a desirable place to live, as we Northerners judge places. But the general effect of my stories as published in the newspapers seems to lose that idea in some sensational writing which over-emphasizes the "hardships" and drawbacks of the North.
Those stories were given out verbally in interviews (not written) by me at a time when I was in a serious nervous condition. They were based on a
far too hasty reading of the documents. When I went to Nome the summer X 1923 I was but recently out of the hospital where I had undergone a serious operation. The nervous strain of organizing and outfitting the relief expedition, the oppositions put in my way in Alaska, the Soviet threats, plus the task of manoeuvring the Donaldson through the ice to Wrangel, and, most of all, the terrible shock of the tragedy I found on the island, all these were undoubtedly responsible for certain incorrect ideas impressions which I got and unfortunately passed on into print. The false impression of Wrangel (or any part of the North that I know) given in my newspaper stories is offset by my own book "With Stefansson in the Arctic" (Dodd Mead, New York, and George G. Harrap, London) and which I originally thought of calling "A Polar Picnic."
Though I actually wrote none of the newspaper stories, I am responsible for them. I find that I used the words "youth and inexperience" several times although Maurer and Knight were twenty-eight and twenty-nine
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years old when they started on the Wrangel Island expedition, and were experienced men in the North. It was only the other two, Crawford and Galle, who were having their first look at the Arctic.
As published, my newspaper stories gave the impression that the fatal journey away from Wrangel Island was made under pressure of food scarcity, that the purpose of the journey was to bring back succor
to the island from Siberia, that the men and dogs were weak from hunger, and that the undertaking was of such a nature that there was small chance of a safe journey to Siberia. This was not the fact. On more careful reading of the expedition documents I believe they inteded to return by boat in the following summer although their intended [?] am not a doubt if their intended to return that spring. I now see I was mistaken in these things among others. I now realize that the journey was planned Knight and Crawfra planned the first and the date for it was set several months before when no approaching food shortage was contemplated, and it was actually undertaken later at about the time set. I now consider that the journey Probably they would have been made the attempt at about the same time of year and with about the same prospects of success if there had been the largest quantity of food on hand. That After the return of Knight + Crawford the food that food had begun to run low, although there was a considerable supply still on hand, was why one reason why the plan for a merely a coincidence and did not affect the journey to Nome via Siberia via Nome was not abandoned. The principal lack was unless to give one more argument for keeping to the original program. fresh meat. this shortage was probably partly due to Knights work on skin, poks [?] hold seal oil which prevented him [turin] hunting [seal natirrily]. So far from food shortage being the primary cause of either the making of the journey or of its fatal ending, I now realize that Crawford and Knight made one of their an initial errors in loading the sledge too heavily with food by at least two hundred pounds, so that speed was retarded and the danger of the sledge breaking was increased. I wish to withdraw specifically any the painful impression my original I did not intend to give the impression newspaper story may have created through seeming to show that the death of the three men, Crawford, Galle and Maurer, was probably a slow one from freezing brought on through weakening by starvation is probably incorrect. I now think It is it much more likely and almost certain that death did take place suddenly in one of two
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ways - either by the party getting in the
darker poor light - on unsafely thin ice and being suddenly drowned by breaking through, or else by the breaking up of overturning into the water of the ice cake upon which they were camped in a gale, perhaps in the darkness of night. I regretfully admit that The general impression given by my news story now appears to me unduly critical. I did and I do do know that I want ed to do justice to the these brave men who while analyzing the cause of their tragedy, and I hope that many of the errors may be due to a misunderstanding on the part of the journalist who wrote up my story from the questions asked and the answers I gave. I regret that some false impressions have been given.
My complete breakdown followed soon after the publication of the original long and detailed newspaper story and its approach must have been the cause of
some weird imagining which I what was I later printed and which I was then convinced I had discovered in Lorne was justified by Knight's diary. and Ada Blackjack diaries I sincerely regret that any false impressions have been given and humbly appologize for my errors.
Signed) Harold Noice.
I, Harold Noice, do hereby solemnly swear that I have read the above statement and re-read the accompanying letter written by myself and addressed to Mr. Stefansson and that unqualified permission is hereby given by me to Mr. Stefansson and the publishers of his book, "The Adventure of Wrangel Island," to publish both of the aforementioned documents, namely Mr. Stefansson's explanation of my letter and the letter itself.