merchant, businessman, philanthropist.
Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. After
graduating from the New Bedford Academy, Grinnell at age 18 began
working as an employee of the New York Stock Exchange Brokerage
1825, he became a partner of the whaling company Grinnell, Mintern &
Co, in which he actively collaborated until his retirement from the
business in 1849.
Grinnell was always very warm towards sailors, especially whalers,
showed great interest in geography and devoted a lot of time to
studying the history of Arctic research. He
played a huge role in organizing four of the five American
expeditions in search of the missing ships of J.
not only financed the expeditions, but also constantly supported the
interest of the government and the public in organizing searches.
After US President Taylor did not respond to the request of
Franklin’s wife, Jane
Franklin, to organize an American search expedition in 1850,
Grinnell wrote to her that “he had long wanted to see an expedition
equipped by this country to save Sir John Franklin and his
was the first letter of their lively correspondence, which lasted
more than 20 years. At
the end of the letter, Grinnell announced his plans to purchase two
vessels for the expedition. The
command of the expedition, later called the First Greennell, was
proposed to Lt. E.
de Haven, an employee of the American Naval Observatory and
Hydrographic Department, who had experience of the Wilkes Antarctic
and De Haven agreed that small, compact ships are better suited for
sailing in the Arctic, often winding, narrow straits of the Canadian
Arctic Archipelago. They
focused their attention on the two miniature brigantines "Advance" and
"Rescue", which had a displacement of 144 and 91 tons,
in the expedition as a physician and naturalist, E.
Kane expressed his
impression of the ships in this way: “They seemed to me more like a
pair of schooners for coastal navigation than a national squadron
equipped to a distant and dangerous sea”. With
Grinnell's money, a great deal of work was done on retrofitting
vessels and adapting them to swimming in ice. The
sides were reinforced with a 2.5-inch-thick oak paneling, the noses
were reinforced with metal sheets, the frames were strengthened, and
additional props were installed. At
the insistence of Grinnell, the team was recruited from the sailors. Only
military discipline, organization and perseverance, according to
Grinnell, could provide a decent resistance to the difficulties and
hardships of the Arctic navigation.
There was a stormy discussion of the upcoming expedition in the
House of Representatives of the US Congress. Grinnell
and his Republican supporters represented the expedition as a
manifestation of humanity towards the missing sailors, an act of
goodwill towards England. Democrats
considered the expedition too expensive, and the use of civilian
ships was offensive to the navy. Some
have come to statements that Grinnell needs this expedition to
advertise his own shipping company. On
April 27, the expedition was approved by the House of
Representatives, which was greatly facilitated by the efforts of the
elder brother Grinnell, Joseph, a congressman from Massachusetts. May
2 was approved by the second chamber.
The expedition started on May 23, 1850 from New York. Grinnell
and her two sons accompanied her on his yacht "Washington" several
hundred miles. Through
the Davis Strait, the Baffin
Sea entered the sea
and then the Lancaster Strait reached the Wellington Strait,
discovering the land, which was called the Grinnell
it turned out that this is part of Devon Island. This
expedition together with E.
Ommann from the G.
Austin expedition was
found in the area of Beachy
is the site of the
first wintering of the ships of Franklin.On October 7, 1851,
Grinnell wrote to Jane Franklin that both ships had returned. The
teams were in good condition, but “... I feel sadness, sadness
because the main goal of the expedition has not been achieved. Your
husband and your compatriots are not saved".
The lack of favorable information from the First Greennell
Expedition significantly weakened the position of supporters in the
United States to continue the search. Grinnell
gave the battle to the prevailing view that "all hope is exhausted". He
said that philanthropy obliged to continue the search, even if there
was at least one chance out of a hundred, that someone from the team
of Franklin survived. Grinnell
foresaw a long struggle with Congress: "... it is also difficult to
impress them (ie the Congress), how to move the longest iceberg in
the polar regions". He began to write letters to other rich
merchants, organize petitions, publish articles in popular
publications, to make him continue his search. His
enthusiasm and dedication even earned the rebuke of Jane Franklin
when, in one of his publications, he, without her prior consent,
placed excerpts from her letter to him. Grinnell
completely denied the accusation and said that it was necessary for
the good of the case of the search for Franklin, that there was
nothing offensive in the publication, and that he would continue to
do the same.
The preparation of the second expedition was very slow due to
negative public opinion. Democrats
were unfriendly, as before, and President Millard Fillmore, in
anticipation of the upcoming presidential election, did not want to
spend money on a case that he considered deliberately lost. Eight
and a half years have passed since the start of the Franklin
expedition, and there was almost no chance of finding any of the
participants alive. Grinnell,
on the other hand, argued that although all of Franklin’s food
supplies were long overdue, Westerners with modern weapons can live
where Eskimos live with bows and arrows.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, Grinnell’s belief in the skill and
skill of white people proved untenable. Returned
from his search expedition of 1864–1869. C.
Hall brought news of
one of the Franklin officers, most likely Captain F.
Crozier, asking the Eskimos to hunt for seals for his starving
The second Greennell expedition set off on May 30, 1853. $
50,000 for her organization was allocated by Grinnell with J.
on the same vessel "Advance)" headed by Kane, who believed
that Franklin should be sought in the north. In
addition to searches, the expedition was instructed to conduct
meteorological and magnetic observations and check the version of
the presence of the open sea in the north. Driving
north on the Baffin Sea, the sailors reached 78° 41′ N ,
the free-swimming record at that time. The
expedition brought a huge amount of scientific information, although
no trace of Franklin was found. He
traveled hundreds of kilometers west of the Kane search area.
There is evidence that after the return of Kane Grinnell spoke of
the expediency of searching down the
Prince-Regent Strait and,
more importantly, the
Peel Strait. As
we know now, F.
McClintock, moving in this way, found in 1859 the place of the
death of the Franklin expedition to the west of the coast of
King William Island.
And in subsequent years, Grinnell continued to support the Arctic
research, subsidizing, in particular, the expedition of I.
Hayes, helping Hall.
Grinnell collected all the press clippings and articles relating to
the search for Franklin. He
designed them in the form of eight albums, which are unique archival
information about Arctic research. Currently,
these albums are stored in the funds of the American Geographical
Society, organized in 1852. Grinnell
was its first president and vice president during 1854–72. Grinnell's daughter gave the Geographical Society a color portrait of her
father, taken from the ship "Resolute".
He died in New York. He
was buried in the Green-Wood cemetery.
Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Discovered
by De Haven's expedition in 1850.
Land) in the central part of Ellesmere Island. Discovered
in 1854 by I. Hayes.
the northwest of Greenland.
the west of Devon.
the east of the island of Ellesmere.
the north of the Melville Peninsula in Canada.