Thursday, December 20, 2012

Arctic Newspapers IV: The Discovery News

When it comes to newspapers printed with moveable type on board Arctic vessels, the least well-known of all is surely The Discovery News, which was published during George Strong Nares's 1875-1876 expedition aboard "Discovery" and "Alert." Printed in two columns on broad quarto-sized sheets, it fully answered to the word "newspaper," differing chiefly by its lack of advertisements and its (necessarily) limited circulation. It was launched with high hopes, as described in the diary of Matthew Miller, Asstant Engineer: "October 15, 1875: The Editor's Box for contributions to the newspaper was fixed upon today, outside of the Naturalist's cabin [Henry Chichester Hart], who has been elected Editor thereof." In November, Miller noted with satisfaction that "Our paper that I have casually mentioned has, by dint of perseverance on the part of the Editor and Printer, been brought out in the form of 2 sheets of closely printed matter of interest to those on board." The copy shown here, from a private collection, is dated Nov. 27, 1875. It mentions an earlier issue published on Nov. 19, and notes that the printer was Benjamin Wyatt. Exactly how many issues were printed may never be known; it's not mentioned again in Miller's diary, and there's no reference to it in Nares's published narrative. It's a shame, since in terms of quality of printing, it's among the finest and most ambitious of all Arctic newspapers.


  1. How disappointing :/ The advertisements were the best. Maybe there was a lack of interest in it and that was why production fizzled, it is most certainly a pity since it really does look like a newspaper.

  2. How very interesting Russell. In all the time I've studied the expedition, I've never heard of "The Discovery News".

    Yes Noelia, the advertisements do indeed liven things up! Also, it probably was lack of interest that doomed the publication.