The Koch Family Papers Part 2 (vol. 1)

Part 2 of the Koch Family Papers about the geo-explorer Lauch Koch's life, work and aspirations

Part 2:

Drawings and maps from the 2nd Thule and Bicentenary Jubilee Expeditions (1916-1923) and the mapping of northern Greenland (Avannaarsua)

Volume 1: Background to the expeditions and a Catalogue

Author: Peter R. Dawes

Lauge Koch (1892-1964) was involved in Greenland affairs for 50 years with far-reaching impact. The Danish National Archives (RIgsarkivet) holds the bulk of his papers; others that remained with his family form the basis of a book published in 2012 as Part 1 of a trilogy, The Koch Family Papers.

The present two-volume book - Part 2 of the trilogy - focusses on a unique collection from the pre-aviation era: two hundred drawings and maps pertaining to the mapping of Greenland's Farthest North or Avannaarsua. Koch began this mammoth task as a student on Knud Rasmussen's 2nd Thule Expedition (1916-18) and completed it on his own Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition (1920-23). The assistance of the indigenous people - the Inughuit - on these ventures was indispensable.

Volume 1 describes and interprets the collection, which includes the only surviving landscape panoramas out of the hundreds compiled. Koch's upbringing, early life and the objectives of Danish exploration are examined, and his achievements accorded pride of place in the history of Arctic cartography, both geologic and geographic.

The author

Geologist Peter R. Dawes - emeritus research scientist at GEUS - has been working with Greenland affairs for more than 50 years. While geoscience has been his foremost occupation, the history of polar exploration and geographical discovery takes a close second place.
During several expeditions to North Greenland in the 1960s, Dawes was introduced to the pioneer work of Lauge Koch who dog-sledged in the region between 1916 and 1923 producing the first regional geological and topographical maps of northern Greenland. His admiration for this eminent accomplishment and Koch's later work in East Greenland has been lifelong and, through contact with Koch's family, it has resulted in several articles on his work and life


Volume 1: Background to the expeditions and a Catalogue

This contribution and its scope
Northern Greenland and Avannaarsua
Danish, English and Greenlandic name
  -  Greenlandic place names
  -  Institution names
  -  Expedition names
The people, terminology, spellings and abbreviations
  -  Inughuit and Inuit
  -  The name 'Thule'
  -  Thule or Kap York district
  -  Population and settlements
  -  Personal Inughuit names
  -  The Inukitsoq trio
  -  Place names
  -  Abbreviations
  -  Illustrations and credits

Investigative work on a jig-saw puzzle
Archive study: notebooks, drawing pads and missing material
Unique graphic record of northern Greenland
The collection: 217 documents on the GEUS website
Input by Koch's travelling companions

Manuscript 39: 'fear of death', 'will to live' and 'joy of life'
Ladies and Gentlemen of Liselund
Aftermath: Wulff's death engendered no guilt, only sadness

Family life at Ubberup
Early inspiration from Fridtjof Nansen
Schoolboy essay on the Danmark Expedition with family connections
Benefactors and Greenland inauguration on Disko, 1913
  -  First impressions from the S/S Godthaab
  -  Eugenius Warming in Copenhagen
  -  Morten Porsild at Godhavn
  -  Visitors from the East: Johan Peter Koch and Alfred Wegener
Master plan emerges

Robust American territorial claims relinquished
Danish political and humanitarian motivation
The Dannebrog and taking possession for King Christian
Knud Rasmussen meets the Inughuit as a private coloniser
Lauge Koch: Disko to Thule via Mullerup
Knud Rasmussen's 2nd Thule Expedition: background and objectives
Peter Freuchen, mapping, and a race against the amphibians
The Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition: objectives and a rescue plan

Individual sheets and drawing pads
Paper preservation
Significance of tears and stains
Pin holes: a sign of sheet association
Creasing and folding: signs of danger

Composition of the catalogue
  -  Material compiled in Greenland
  -  Material compiled in Denmark
Sorting and identification of the material
  -  Spurious dates: a cartoon and an explainable curiosity
  -  Spurious locations: an intrinsic part of exploration
Specific dating methodology
  - Paper type and size
  -  Paper preservation
  -  Comparative geography and geology
  -  Development of mapping methodology
Numbering of the material
Glossary of words and phrases
Abbreviations used in the descriptions
 -  Koch's abbreviations
 -  Author abbreviations

Melville Bugt and the Thule district, June-November 1916 (SHEETS 1-42)
  -  Field sketches of Melville Bugt
  -  Redrawn sketches of Melville Bugt
  -  Redrawn sketches of the Thule district
Map of the Inughuit settlement Uummannaq 1916 (SHEETS 43-50)
  -  Significance of the Uummannaq survey
Maps of Melville Bugt and the Kap York district 1916-17 (SHEETS 51-52)
Thule to Peary Land, April-September 1917 (SHEETS 53-71)
  -  Original field sketches
  -  Redrawn profiles
Geological map, cross-sections and a block diagram (SHEETS 72-73)
Printed maps and cross-sections (SHEETS 74-78)

Winter at Tasiusaq and Upernavik 1920-21 (SHEET 79)
Illuluarsuit to Peary Land, March-October 1921 (SHEETS 80-116)
Thule district, April 1922 (SHEETS 117-122)
Illuluarsuit to Nyeboe Land, April-July 1922 (SHEETS 123-157)
Illuluarsuit to Inglefield Land, September-October 1922 (SHEETS 158-160)
Upernavik to Thule district, March-May 1923 (SHEETS 161-171)
Miscellaneous drawings (SHEETS 172-191)

Map of John Ross's Crimson Cliffs (SHEETS 192-194)
Geological maps and photographic proofs (SHEETS 195-212)
Miscellaneous items (SHEETS 213-217)

3rd May 1923: a 'normal' day's sledging
National and international recognition
Compilation and publication of maps
Vildtland: comparative cartography 1892, 1912 and 1921
Mapping of archipelagos and highly indented coastlines
  -  Melville Bugt
  -  North-eastern Inglefield Land
Sven Hedin's assessment
F.H. Trap's map assessment: from Clavus to Koch
The crowning product and its amazing longevity
  -  Extended life despite aerial photography
  -  Koch's footprint pervades modern Web maps

The koch family papers

Order the book

THE KOCH FAMILY PAPERS PART 2 (VOL. 1) can be ordered by contacting:

GEUS Booksale

Price: DKK 80 (ex. VAT and postage)

Read about and order volume 2

Additional information

Number of pages: 250 pages

ISBN: 978-87-7871-441-1