The Koch Family Papers Part 2 (vol. 2)

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

Part 2 Part 2:

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

Volume 2:

Mapping from Baffin to Koch and the role of Greenlanders

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 2

goes through the cartographic and geologic exploration from William Baffins first written observations in 1616 until Koch shows up 300 years later. The focus is on the role of Greenlanders in mapping their own land; their will to work together in all areas of field work was essential for Kochs success. 

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 2: Mapping from Baffin to Koch and the role of Greenlanders

From William Baffin to Lauge Koch
The Inughuit and West Greenlanders
Historic downplaying of Greenlandic participation
Colonial rule and Greenlandic subordination
  -  Robert Peary and recovery of the meteorites
Hans Egede: the founder of rational mapping
Peder Walløe, women's boat and regional exploration
Coastal surveys and an influential German theory
Paddling 1000 kilometres into the unknown
Discovery of Baffin Bay and Smith Sound in 1616
John Ross and Hans Zachæus reach Kap York in 1818
John Franklin: turning point in Arctic exploration
The 70-year procession through Smith Sound
  -  Greenlandic participation
  -  Wintering in the Far North
Man-hauling replaced by dogs with Hans Hendrik's help
Adolphus Greely's misfortune reversed by Robert Peary
Sledging by the winter moons: recipe for disaster
The northern magnet: Peary's spurious sea channel
A new and mighty fjord system claims three lives
Jørgen Brønlund's devout sense of duty to no avail
A Danish-Inughuit foursome rides the Imperial Highway but is misled
Polar conflict: resolved but disbelieved, so manipulated and mystified
Robert Peary: validation of Inughuit travel techniques and lifestyle
The Peary Effect: Inughuit acclimatisation and Danish colonisation
Inughuit tasks during an Indian summer
The Inughuit: born Arctic explorers
A squadron of biplanes caps a mapping era

Cartography status
  -  Map status in 1916
  -  First Danish maps: nothing but a political manifestation
Inughuit maps of their land
  -  A remarkable set of hundred year-old Inughuit maps
  -  Inughuit map from 1903 versus Danish map from 1906
Geology and glaciology status
  -  Lay standouts: Peter Sutherland and Henry Feilden
  -  The first geologists and glaciologists

Arctic Catch-22 and the physical parameters
  -  The landscape: a rugged ice-bound wilderness
  -  The climate and the frozen sea: harsh and unforgiving
  -  Peary Land: main attraction, end-station and arctic desert
  -  Timing the escape: from sea ice to land ice
  -  Knud Rasmussen's fatal decision
  -  Mapping in the face of illness and starvation
Wildlife depletion north of Kane Basin
Dual task of cartography and geology
National cartography receives an organisational boost
Koch as protégé of namesake Johan Peter Koch
The surveying instruments and the Koch theodolite

Benefits of an exclusive native escort
Systematic planning with echoes of Peary
'A firm hand in a soft glove' and the growth of the map
Daily life on the trail: routines and theodolite maintenance
An Inughuit geological contribution

Svend: not his choice
Family and public archives
  -  The Koch Family Papers: not a niche collection
  -  Archiving process is aborted
  -  Criterion for deposition in Rigsarkivet: state employment
  -  Four notebooks from 1916-17: each with a different home
  -  Carl Koch: last guardian of the family archive
Revisions, reader feedback and errata
  -  S/S Godthaab in 1950
  -  Knud Rasmussen's urgent letter of invitation
  -  Christmas at Upernavik 1920
  -  Family mix up: Mathias and Therkel Mathiassen
  -  Letters from 1895 reunited with Astrup's book
Acquisitions since Part 1
  -  Four unpublished manuscripts: collated as numbers 41-44
  -  'Ørnereden' or Eagle's Nest: a final curiosity

The Koch family papers

Order the book

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

GEUS Booksale

Price: DKK 80 (ex. VAT and postage)

Additional information

Number of pages: 242 pages

ISBN: 978-87-7871-442-8