Letters were the way to make sure people at home didn’t worry, and to inform the Admiralty of all your planning and on-going travels. They are however not always as accessible as we would like them to be. This category tries to collect letters and digitalizes others within the allowance of copyright laws.


Fitzjames, James, on the Franklin Expedition, 1845

The letters of James Fitzjames that were edited by William Coningham and published in the Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle in 1852. They were addressed to Elizabeth and William Coningham, and John Barrow Jr. 

Gore, Graham, to his Family, 1839; 1842

Written by Lt. Graham Gore and sent to his father (1839) and sister Eliza (1842) while he was in service of the Royal Navy. Originals kept at the National Library Australia and National Museum Australia.

Irving, John, Letters by, 1834-1845

Letters to the Hydrographer, 1848-1854

Letters sent between 1848 and 1854 to the Hydrographer of the Navy, Sir Francis Beaufort, about the searches for Sir John Franklin.

McClintock, Leopold to James Clark Ross, 1850-1852

The National Archives: BJ 2/11. Part of the collection of the papers and correspondence of James Clark Ross. All written by McClintock, 9 letters are to Ross and 1 is to Horatio Austin (likely enclosed). All letters are about the search for Franklin and McClintock’s employment.

Reid James, to Ann Reid, 1845

Individual (Alphabetical)

Anonymous, HMS Erebus in a newspaper, 8/Jul/1845

Excerpt of a letter published as part of a larger newspaper article during the initial summer of the Franklin Expedition.

Anonymous, HMS Erebus Officer in a newspaper, 11/Jul/1845

This letter was published as part of a newspaper article after the Baretto Junior transport arrived back in England after assisting the Franklin Expedition.

Anonymous, HMS Terror to a Sibling, 28/Jun/1845

Written during the Franklin Expedition and published in a newspaper in 1851. The letter might belong to G. H. Hodgson.

Blanky, Thomas to Esther Blanky, 12/Jul/1845

Excerpt of a letter from Thomas Blanky of HMS Terror to Esther Blanky during the Franklin Expedition’s first summer. Published in several newspapers to prove that the expedition might still be alive in the early 1850s.

Davis, John Edward to Emily Davis, 11/Apr/1842

Written during the Ross Expedition and published for private circulation in 1901.