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Louise Arner Boyd

The Ice Queen

Index

social background

her explorations

her achievements

01

Her social background

  • Born in 1887 in Marin County, California
  • Wealthy family based on gold mining SF
  • two brothers died from illnesses
  • 1920, running family bussiness boring
  • only heir to a massive fortune
  • first trips in Europe, always fascinated by artic

She was taken seriously, too -- in 1925, she was able to charter the Hobby, previously used by none other than famed polar explorer Roald Amundsen. It was during this first trip that she earned the moniker “The Girl Who Tamed the Arctic,” as the media delighted in her exploits and explorations -- especially polar bear hunting.

This was more than a way for an heiress to entertain herself. As Boyd planned her second trip in 1928, news broke that Amundsen, himself on a rescue mission, had disappeared. She’d already chartered the Hobby and so offered the services of herself, her ship and crew to the Norwegian government. Though they were unable to locate Amundsen and crew, Louise Boyd became the first American woman, and the third woman ever, to receive Norway’s Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav..

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Her knowledge of Greenland and the Arctic made Boyd an important asset to the United States government at the onset of World War II. In fact, she was asked not to publish a book she’d been writing about her more recent arctic discoveries and instead was appointed to lead an expedition down Greenland’s west coast and on to Baffin Island and Labrador, Canada. She published her book, The Coast of Northeast Greenland, after the war.

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  • recognized authority on the polar region, Greenland,
  • worked for the U.S. government during the war.
  • defied expectations and gender roles
  • mapped unexplored regions of Greenland,
  • studied and photographed topography,
  • sea ice,

Her achievements

  • glacial features,
  • land formations and ocean depths,
  • botanical discoveries
  • photographs of glaciers : provide critical information to climate change researchers today

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