The Resource Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection

Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection

Label
Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection, 1875-2014
Title
Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection
Inclusive dates
1875-2014
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
The papers of Donald and Miriam MacMillan (husband and wife) document exploration in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions from the time of Robert E. Peary{u2019}s successful North Pole expedition (1908-1909), through both World Wars, and into the modern scientific era. Many of the MacMillan{u2019}s 30 plus maritime expeditions to study the region{u2019}s archaeology, ethnography, geology, botany, ornithology, and geography are documented, as are those related to World War II North Atlantic efforts. Materials include correspondence, journals, diaries and other materials relating to expeditions, beginning with Peary{u2019}s North Pole (1908-1909) expedition, and the MacMillan led Crocker Land Expedition (1913-1917); personal correspondence between Donald and Miriam; Donald MacMillan{u2019}s manuscript drafts for "Four Years in the White North" (1918), "How Peary reached the Pole: The Personal Story of His Assistant Donald B. MacMillan" (1934) and other published and unpublished works; lecture materials; photographs; a large collection of charts and maps relating to MacMillan{u2019}s expeditions; an extensive collection of pressed plant specimens from the 1929 expedition to Labrador; notecards for MacMillan{u2019}s Inuit language dictionary; and materials concerning the building, use, and restoration of the schooner Bowdoin. Miriam MacMillan's materials include manuscript drafts for "Green Seas and White Ice" (1948) and other published and unpublished works, notebooks and diaries kept during arctic expeditions, and scrapbooks chronicling her husband's achievements. Principal correspondents include Everett Allen, George Borup, Bowdoin College presidents and other personnel, David L. Brainard, A.W. Greely, Gilbert and Melville Bell Grosvenor, Matthew Henson, Katie Hettasch, Robert E. Peary, Rutherford Platt, Marie Peary Stafford
Biographical or historical data
Donald Baxter MacMillan was born November 10, 1874, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the younger son of Captain Neil MacMillan and Sarah Gardner MacMillan, a shipbuilder's daughter. After receiving his degree from Bowdoin in 1898, MacMillan served as principal of Levi Hall School in North Gorham, Maine (1898-1900). He later taught at Swarthmore Preparatory School in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania (1900-1903), and at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts (1903-1908). MacMillan's correspondence with Admiral Robert E. Peary (Bowdoin 1877) led to his becoming an assistant to the arctic explorer on Peary{u2019}s expedition to the North Pole (1908-1909). MacMillan suffered from frozen heels during the expedition, preventing him from reaching the pole with Peary, a goal he never realized except by plane. Over his 46-year career MacMillan made over thirty expeditions to Arctic regions, traveling over 300,000 miles and conducting important work in the fields of botany, ornithology, meteorology, and anthropology. He charted new territory on the coast of Greenland and across the coast of upper Canada in the Canadian Arctic, training students, performing scientific research and studying and aiding the native people of Labrador and Greenland. MacMillan pioneered the use of radios, airplanes, and electricity in the Arctic, brought back films and thousands of photographs of Arctic scenes, and put together a dictionary of the Inuit language, Inuktikut. In the course of his expeditions, MacMillan established three dental clinics and built a schoolhouse for the Moravian station at Nain, Labrador. The MacMillan-Moravian School (established 1929), a residential school for native Labrador children, was provided for by the MacMillans and run in partnership with Dr. Paul Hettasch and Kate Hettasch. Over the course of his career, Donald MacMillan lectured throughout the United States and wrote several books, including "Four Years in the White North" (1918), "Etah and Beyond" (1927), and "How Peary Reached the Pole" (1934). He also served in the U.S. Navy as Lieutenant (1918-1919), Commander (1941-1945), and Rear Admiral (1954); was Tallman Professor of Anthropology at Bowdoin (1932-1933); and was awarded the F.R.G.S. Special Congressional Medal in 1944. He received honorary degrees from Bowdoin (1918) and Boston University (1937), the Bowdoin Prize (1954), and was educated at Harvard from 1911-1913. Donald MacMillan died on September 7, 1970 and is buried in Provincetown, MA. Miriam Look MacMillan was born in 1905 in Clinton, Massachusetts, and was the daughter of Moses Jerome Look, a civil engineer, and his second wife, Amy G. Wood Look. Moses Jerome Look and Donald MacMillan were friends, and Miriam looked up to Donald MacMillan and followed his arctic exploration from a young age. They corresponded throughout her young life and were married in 1935 when Miriam was 30. From 1938 Miriam began accompanying Donald on expeditions to the Arctic aboard the schooner Bowdoin and became an important member of the crew, which often included faculty and students from Bowdoin and other colleges. While Donald charted new territory, performed scientific research, and led ethnological studies, Miriam took many photographs and films of life in Labrador, Baffin Island, Ellesmere Island, and Greenland. She wrote extensive notes on every trip, which she used later to write published accounts of her experiences: "Green Seas and White Ice" (1948), "Etuk, the Eskimo Hunter" (1950), and "Kudla and His Polar Bear" (1953). She also wrote articles for magazines, including National Geographic and Yachting. Miriam was the chief provisioner of the MacMillan-Moravian School and maintained a close relationship with Kate Hettasch, the school{u2019}s teacher. Both Nasson College (1960) and Bowdoin College (1980) acknowledged Miriam{u2019}s contributions to Arctic exploration with honorary degrees. After Donald's death in 1970, Miriam moved to Owl{u2019}s Head, Maine, to live with her friends, Dr. and Mrs. Edward Morse; she devoted herself to arranging and cataloguing the thousands of photographs, slides, and artifacts that she and MacMillan brought back from the Arctic. Miriam served as honorary curator of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, and worked to promote and raise money for the restoration of the schooner Bowdoin in the early 1980s. Miriam MacMillan received the honorary degree of Sc.D. from Bowdoin College (1980). In 1981, she was accepted into the Explorer's Club, one of only a few women accepted at that time. Miriam died on August 18, 1987 and is buried in Provincetown, MA.
Cataloging source
BBH
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1874-1970
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
MacMillan, Donald Baxter
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorDate
  • 1874-1970
  • 1874-1970
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
  • MacMillan, Donald Baxter
  • MacMillan, Donald Baxter
  • MacMillan, Miriam Look
  • MacMillan, Miriam Look
  • MacMillan, Miriam Look
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Allen, Everett S
  • Borup, George
  • Brainard, David L.
  • Greely, A. W.
  • Henson, Matthew Alexander
  • Hettasch, Katie
  • MacMillan, Donald Baxter
  • MacMillan, Miriam Look
  • Peary, Marie Ahnighito
  • Peary, Robert E.
  • Bowdoin (Ship)
  • Crocker Land Expedition
  • Macmillan-Moravian Mission School (Nain, Labrador)
  • Explorers
  • Explorers
  • Explorers' spouses
  • Indigenous children
  • Inuktitut language
  • Inuit language
  • Inuit
  • Inuit
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Women explorers
  • Arctic regions
  • Arctic regions
  • Arctic regions
  • Greenland
  • North Pole
Label
Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection
Instantiates
Carrier category
unspecified
Carrier category code
  • zu
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
unspecified
Content type code
  • zzz
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Extent
107.5
Governing access note
No restrictions
Media category
unspecified
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • z
Organization method
Organized into 10 series: Organized in 10 series: Correspondence, 1884-1987; Writings, Books, and Articles, 1909-1965; Lectures and Addresses, 1908-1985; Expeditions, Research, and Related Materials, 1908-1969; Diaries, Journals, and Logs, 1891-1961; Subject Files, 1875-2014; Ephemera, Miscellany, and Realia, 1860-1885; Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1849-1991; Photographs, 1897-1975; and Charts and Maps
Type of unit
linear feet
Label
Donald and Miriam MacMillan collection
Carrier category
unspecified
Carrier category code
  • zu
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
unspecified
Content type code
  • zzz
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Extent
107.5
Governing access note
No restrictions
Media category
unspecified
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • z
Organization method
Organized into 10 series: Organized in 10 series: Correspondence, 1884-1987; Writings, Books, and Articles, 1909-1965; Lectures and Addresses, 1908-1985; Expeditions, Research, and Related Materials, 1908-1969; Diaries, Journals, and Logs, 1891-1961; Subject Files, 1875-2014; Ephemera, Miscellany, and Realia, 1860-1885; Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1849-1991; Photographs, 1897-1975; and Charts and Maps
Type of unit
linear feet

Library Locations

    • Bowdoin College LibraryBorrow it
      3000 College Station, Brunswick, ME, 04011-8421, US
      43.907093 -69.963997