The Arctic Collection of Ray Edinger


Our upcoming Printed & Manuscript Americana auction features materials from The Arctic Collection of Ray Edinger. Mr. Edinger wrote the piece below, outlining his collection from its inception. 
 
2404-George Back
 
Lot 41: George Back, Narrative of an Expedition in H.M.S. Terror … to Geographical Discovery on the Arctic Shores, first edition, with folding map and 12 tinted lithograph plates, London, 1838. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.  

 
After growing up on Long Island, I studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I earned my bachelors degree. Following graduation, I spent the next thirty-six years as a scientist in the field of photographic and imaging science with the Eastman Kodak Company.
 
I have always had a morbid curiosity about adventures in cold, icy regions–the more tragic, the better. As a young boy sixty years ago, I remember reading Maurice Herzog’s tale of his disastrous experience climbing Mount Annapurna. Lying on the living room floor, warm and dry, I was mesmerized by the pictures and narrative. There he was, his gloves skittering down the mountainside, forever lost to him, and his horribly frostbitten hands, their frozen flesh hanging in shreds!

 2404-Beechey
Lot 44: Frederick W. Beechey, Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait…, second octavo edition, London, 1831. Estimate $800 to $1,200. 
 
 
Over the years Herzog became just a dim memory. Then one wintry afternoon I
visited my local library in search of a book about the Arctic. It had to be something special, I told the librarian. She returned from the stacks with a musty, stained, and frayed two-volume set, its loosened leather covers held in place by neatly tied satin ribbons: Elisha Kent Kane’s Arctic Explorations. As I read the wonderful narrative I began to dream of having my very own copy, and I knew it just had to be an edition that was published while the long-forgotten explorer was still alive.
 
Over the next thirty years I learned much about book collecting as one Arctic book inexorably lead to another, and this succession of purchases in the polar genre continued to define my collection. My interest ultimately expanded to speaking engagements and authorship, with articles published in Mercator’s World, Western New York Heritage, Biblio, and Journal of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, plus having written two non-fiction, Arctic-themed books, Fury Beach (Berkley, 2003) and Love and Ice (Frederic C. Beil, 2015).
 2404-John Barrow
Lot 42: John Barrow, A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions, first edition, London, 1818. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800. 
 
 
Now that I am fully retired, my Arctic mania has mellowed and the time has come to disperse my collection. My new passion is travel. My wife Yvonne and I have already visited more than fifty countries around the globe. Perhaps not surprisingly, my library shelves are beginning to groan under the weight of antiquarian travel books.
 
-Ray Edinger


More items from The Arctic Collection of Ray Edinger can be seen in our catalogue, lots 40 through 79.