Memoirs & Diaries

A number of memoirs and diaries have been submitted by Society members for publication on the website. It now merits a dedicated page. All members are encouraged to submit similar material for archiving here, and linking to the Time Trek application.

 Diary of Richard Berkley, Wilkes Station 1957-58

Richard Berkley was magnetometry scientist at Wilkes Station during the IGY. He kept a diary during this time which his good friend Melvin Oakes, a retired physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has carefully transcribed over the past several years with the help of Lois Mallory. The diary is part of a tribute website to Berkley maintained by Oakes. The diary and the other reference material on the site should be of interest to many of our members, and to historians of this period in Antarctica. We are grateful to Dr. Oakes for generously allowing us to share a link to this website. To view the website, click HERE.

"Flight of the Puckered Penguins" by CDR James Waldron USN Ret.

Commander Jim Waldron was one of the early U.S. Navy VX-6 pilots who supported Operation Deep Freeze prior to the IGY. This is a detailed and fascinating account of what it was like to live and fly under some of the most challenging conditions on earth. Copyright James E. Waldron. Click HERE to view the document.


"Discovery Deep Traverse" by Dr. Edwin Robinson

"This file is a written account of the Discovery Deep Traverse (DDT), a one month late-season journey on the Ross Ice Shelf that four of us made in 1960 to test two new SnoCats, which were to be used on the upcoming McMurdo to South Pole Traverse. During the winter at McMurdo Station I wrote this account as a long letter to my parents. The family has kept this old letter written long-hand in pencil. This past year I finally sat down and typed it into this Microsoft Word file, correcting some mis-spelled words and finishing a few hastily written incomplete sentences. I added a one page preface,but otherwise it's the same report I mailed home in 1960. I also added some pictures to brighten the pages." Copyright Edwin Robinson. Click HERE to view the document.


"Little America III" by Joseph A. Daigle

Joseph Daigle was a young Navy radioman when he served with Admiral Byrd on the USS Bear during the 1939-41 United States Antarctic Service Expedition. He published this account of his experiences on that expedition in 1988. He was responsible for the vital communications link to the outside world while the Bear sailed in Antarctic waters. The book is filled with personal stories that give a glimpse of what life was like for Navy crewmen during USASE. Thanks to Janice Daigle Walz, daughter of Joseph A. Daigle, for graciously allowing the Society to post this memoir. Click on any link in the table below to go directly to individual chapters. Copyright Janice Daigle Walz.

Little America III

Epilogue, Glossary


Patrick "Rediron" McCormick Memoir

"Rediron" McCormick was a young Seabee who volunteered for the U.S. Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (Special) in support of Operations Deep Freeze I and II, 1955-57. Their assignment was to build permanent facilities in McMurdo Sound and the Geographic South Pole for the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. This is a detailed account of how the "can do" Seabees overcame great challenges to accomplish their mission. It is also a story of how a disparate group of young men formed friendships that have endured for their lifetimes. "Rediron's" fifty-page memoir is illustrated with numerous photos taken by the Navy and by the Seabees themselves. Click the title above to read the memoir.Copyright Patrick McCormick. Click HERE to view the document.


Antarctic Recollection: South Pole 1957-58 by Art Jorgensen

Art Jorgensen wintered at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station as a meteorological aide in the IGY year 1957-58. He was a colleague and still a friend of our long-time Society newsletter editor Paul Dalrymple. He has been a Society member for many years. This is his illustrated recollection of that formative year in his personal and professional life. Click the title above to read his story. Copyright Art Jorgensen. Click HERE to view the document.


IGY Diary of Dr. Ralph Glasgal

This untranscribed diary was kept by Dr. Ralph Glasgal, Aurora Physicist at the original Wilkes Station. It recounts his experiences at Wilkes Station and at other well-known Antarctic sites during the 1956-1958 International Geophysical Year. The diary is a glimpse into the excitement and adventure of that historic time through the eyes of a young man smitten with the Antarctic "bug."Dr. Glasgal 's recollections have been archived in Australia and Great Britain, and now is an important contribution to The Antarctican Society website, with Dr. Glasgal's permission. Click on any link in the table below to go directly to individual portions of the diary. Copyright Dr. Ralph Glasgal 2008.


15 Nov 1956 - 12 Dec 1956

12 Jan 1957 - 02 Feb 1957

19 Feb 1957 - 06 Apr 1957

30 May 1957 - 11 Aug 1957

03 Sep 1957 - 26 Oct 1957

23 Dec 1957 - 15 Feb 1958


"Mirny Diary 1958-59" by Morton J. Rubin

This detailed diary was contributed by Morton Rubin's brother Harry. He gives credit to Mr. and Mrs. Martin Sponholz for painstakingly deciphering and transcribing Morton's original hand-written manuscript. It is a fascinating glimpse of winterover life at an IGY Russian station. Copyright Harry Rubin 2008. All rights reserved. Click HERE to view the document.


"Among the Magi" by Martin Sponholz

This memoir by Society member Martin Sponholz recounts his experiences at Plateau Station and the Japanese Showa Station in the 1960's. It has never been published, but has appeared on other websites in the past. We thought it deserved a home with the Antarctican Society, with Marty's permission. Click on any link in the table below to go directly to individual chapters. Copyright Martin Sponholz 1995.

Among the Magi