A Postal History Gallery of Related Events


Polar Postage

Roald Amundsen filled the role of Fridtjof Nansen as a "renowned polar celebrity". Because of his long years of success in the polar field, Norway issued this set of stamps (Scott 104-10) in 1925 to support his planned flight to the North Pole in two "Dornier Wal" seaplanes. The flight failed to reach its objective, but was an example of the role of aviation in future travel. About two hundred thousand sets were issued, of which a large percentage was used for postage by the public.



The MacMillan Expedition

The MacMillan Expedition to northern Greenland carried three U.S. Navy amphibians, commanded by Lt. Richard E. Byrd. They made aerial surveys possible for the first time


Incoming mail was sent to Battle Harbor, Labrador, to be picked up on their return.
This "cannibalized" cover is one of the few that survive.



MacMillan Wireless Messages

Commander Donald MacMillan introduced wireless radio to Arctic exploration in 1925 . . .



MacMillan approved every message transmitted on the new radio and his initials appeared on even the most routine messages.


Noted medical missionary Wilfred Grenfell traveled on the BOWDOIN and sent news of their arrival at Battle Harbor. The required approval is on the face of the message.


MacMillan maintained radio contact with Commander Richard Byrd who led the air survey of Greenland from the S.S. PEARY in 1925.


The first wireless radio was carried to the Arctic on this voyage, however the leader required that all messages would be approved by himself or his second in command. The radio operator kept all the messages with their approval signatures certifying the authenticity of the messages.

August 26
Research Club Provincetown, Mass.

Greetings from N. Greenland to all my good friends in Provincetown. Have many new things of interest for the museum -- MacMillan


The engineer of the BOWDOIN requested that his wireless message be mailed to his home to advise the date of his return. Approved by the captain.


Ivan Bayley
Conservation Warden
North Sydney, Nova Scotia

Leave Battle Harbor in morning for Sydney. Please try to buy for me a dozen Eider ducks.

Walter Koelz


A Designer's Error

The dirigible built for Grettir Algarsson in 1925 was determined to be incapable of a flight to the pole due to a manufacturing error. This specimen cover was to be carried as a fund raising devise.

(Exhibition pieces courtesy of George Hall)