AndrewTaylor- click to view a larger image
Andrew Taylor 1907-1993

William "Skip" Koolage, PhD.
Arctic/Subarctic Research
134 University College
Indexcard-click to view a larger image
Andrew's Index Cards

Welcome to the Arctic Blue Books online -- a searchable, World-Wide Web version of Andrew Taylor's unique index to the 19th Century British Parliamentary Papers concerned with the Canadian Arctic.

The Index to the Arctic Blue Books by Andrew Taylor (1907-1993), O.C., B.Sc. (CE), M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc. was annotated, revised and digitized by the Arctic Blue Books Project, Arctic/Subarctic Research. This group also included Ruth May, MLS; Deborah Woodman, M.A.; Harpa Isfeld, M.A.; William O. Pruitt, Jr., Ph.D.; and Michael Angel, Ph.D. Arctic/Subarctic Research has placed this index and copies of the Blue Books in Archives and Government Documents, Elizabeth Dafoe Library; The Hudson's Bay Company Archives; and the Neil John MacLean Health Sciences Library.
Introduction and Acknowledgments Where are the Arctic Blue Books?
Search the index by keyword. Browse the index record by record.
About the index numbering system. Descriptions of the British Parliamentary Papers on Exploration in the Canadian North.
"Blue Books and Rat Tails" -- the history of the Arctic Blue Books Index. Andrew Taylor's Preliminary Guide to the Arctic Blue Books and Parliamentary Papers of the Nineteenth Century.
Arctic Websites Other source materials relevant to the era and area of the Arctic Blue Books.

Introduction and Acknowledgments

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In October 1990, William O. Pruitt, Jr., Zoology, Michael Angel, Associate Director - Libraries, and I were requested by Andrew Taylor to help in preparing his Index to the Arctic Blue Books for publication. I negotiated with him for the loan of the Index to the University for such purpose and began soliciting grants to pay for the processing of the Index from the 44,000 3x5 file cards to computerized files. A grant from the University of Manitoba Development Fund allowed us to begin this process. Deborah Woodman, an M.A. student in anthropology, entered all 250,000 references from the file cards into a series of programs linked for us by Penny Gilbert. Deborah's background in printing and academia were invaluable to bringing the Index from the Stone Age into the Computer Age. And we are most appreciative and wish her well in her current Ph.D. program at Guelph. Helen Osman, University College, typed what were then "unscannable" manuscripts and texts into computer files for the first three introductory chapters by Taylor. She had previously typed numerous drafts of research and grant proposals from my scrawly hand. Helen, bless you. Rae- click to view a larger image
HMS Investigator- click to view a larger image With support from the R.T. Ross foundation, two photocopy sets of the entire Blue Books were obtained through the help of Donald Curtin, an archivist in the National Capital Area. Donald tracked down the dusty original British Parliamentary Papers from 1818-1878 in storage in Hull, Quebec and photocopied these for us to use in annotating and checking Taylor's Index. We made copies of the 6000 plus pages of the Blue Books and donated these to Dafoe Library. Several other grants from the Science Institute of the NWT, the Canadian Polar Commission, and an anonymous foundation allowed us to continue.
The annotating and checking phase was more prolonged. A Social Science and Humanities Research Grant was sought and obtained in 1993. William Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Center of the Smithsonian Institution, and Clifford Hickey, Director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute gave us crucial support in this endeavour. Phillip Cronenwett, Director of Archives at Dartmouth College, kindly provided photocopies of two Blue Books missing from the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa. FortHope- click to view a larger image
RossMap- click to view a larger image We had been working from a small, leaky office in the basement of University College. Through the good services of Hermann and Marianne Hansen, Jo-Ann Kubin, Linda LeClaire, and Provost Charles Bigelow, we moved to larger and drier accommodation in the ladies' basement powder room of University College. Thus was born "Lady Jane's Loo and Lab" that has been our comfortable (yes comfortable) home since, especially with the capable help of Henryk Cecelon. With expanded space and funding, Deborah was joined by Harpa Isfeld, anthropology, and Ruth May, archivist and volunteer, in the annotating of the Index. Ruth really did most of the annotating while the rest of us helped with the input or keeping the "administrivia" at bay. Other assistance came from Charles Bigelow as Director of the Institute for the Humanities and Dean Raymond Currie, Arts, who provided me with a term as a Fellow of the Institute. Cybershaman Richard Bochonko and Technowizard Ian Cameron kept the glitches from the door. Fellow denizens of the UCSCR helped keep everything in perspective.

In 1998, the Index went on-line on the University of Manitoba's Libraries Homepage through the assistance of Jonathan Esterhazy, Libraries. Earlier paper drafts of the Index had been provided to Archives and Government Documents so that students and researchers could use the Blue Books.

In August 1998, Harpa Isfeld completed the final formatting of the Index through the four programs (MS Word, Hypercard, Filemaker, and Pagemaker) to produce a final printed copy of the Index. Theodore Macfarlane, Campus Copy Centre, engineered the printing of 3 copies of the 957 page Index to the Arctic Blue Books by Andrew Taylor. Siobhan Kari and Harpa Isfeld helped with post annotation production. Many thanks to Lynne Dalman and Brian Schwimmer for placing this on the Anthropology website.

Despite the best efforts of Hoodoo, Snafu, Murphy, and Sod, the Index is now on-line at the University of Manitoba Libraries homepage and in print format. We survived two floods and a mess of other hassles in completing Andrew's amazing work of many years ago. Thank you all for your help.

 Skip Koolage 1998

Where are the Arctic Blue Books?

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ABB-click to view a larger image
Example of Blue Book Page
Copies of the Blue Books are available in Archives and Government Documents, Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba. We are in process of discussion with Neil John McLean Medical Library, Faculty of Medicine and the Hudson's Bay Archives to donate copies of the Blue Books to them. Other collections with sets of the Blue Books are Libraries of Parliament, Canada and Great Britain; Library of Congress, USA; Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, Great Britain; and Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. ABB-click to view a larger image
Example of Blue Book Page

Other source materials relevant to the era and area of the Arctic Blue Books.

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Taylor's primary works on the Arctic are Geographical Discovery and Exploration of the Queen Elizabeth Islands and The Physiography of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. Pierre Berton's The Arctic Grail is a good popular account of the era and the men and woman (Lady Jane Franklin) who played such prominent roles in the European exploration of northern North America. Leslie Neatby's Search for Franklin, In Quest of the North West Passage, and Frozen Ships, are excellent standard references. Patricia Sutherland's The Franklin Era in Canadian Arctic History 1845 -1859 (Ottawa: National Museum of Man Mercury Series No. 131, 1985) provides 16 eclectic essays on this subject. For Alaskan Native villages, see Dorothy Jean Ray's "Ninetieth Century Settlement and Subsistence Patterns in Bering Strait" in Arctic Anthropology 1964: 2.2 pp. 61-97.

Mitchell- clickto view a larger image

Arctic Websites

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Arctic Circle An electronic Arctic Circle from the University of Connecticut with information about Natural Resources, History and Culture, Social Equity and Environment, and more.

Arctic Council high level intergovernmental forum that provides a mechanism to address the common concerns and challenges faced by Arctic governments and people.

The Arctic Institute of North America nonprofit and multidisciplinary organization seeking to advance the study of Canada's North through the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities; and to disseminate information on physical, environmental and social conditions in the North.

Arctic Studies Center at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.

Circumpolar Universities Association organ for cooperation between institutes of higher learning and research in the northern circumpolar region of the world.

Northern Forum organization made up of national governments and businesses in the world's northern regions.

Polar Web Polar internet resource guide

Arctic Dawn Originally published in 1795, this is a new hypertext edition of the journals of Samuel Hearne, the first European to explore the western Canadian Arctic. Includes pictures and sounds.

Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research studies physical, biological and social processes of the Arctic that interact with the Earth system, and their relationship to global change.

Canadian Arctic Resources Committee national public interest organization, registered charity, involved in researching, publishing, public advocacy, litigation, in accord with Arctic environmental and cultural sustainability.

Archaeology in Arctic North America

Arctic Centre research and information on the Arctic.

McDougall Sound Archaeological Research Project virtual slide show based upon archaeological research carried out in the Canadian High Arctic chronicles the Dorset culture.

Churchill Northern Studies Centre a non-profit educational organization with a mandate to facilitate arctic research.

Polar Museums Directory provides brief details of museums known to have collections relating to the Arctic and Antarctic.

The Franklin Trail Homepage Archaeological survey of the Franklin Expedition

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Last modified June 2000.
© 1998 Arctic/Subarctic Research
134 University College
The University of Manitoba