DescriptionJames Lovell 1987 Typed Letter Signed Regarding Trip to the North Pole, with Transmittal Envelope Cancelled There. A two-page letter, 7.25" x 10.5", on personal letterhead, dated April 10, 1987, to his cousin Leon "Bud" Coleman in Ontario, Canada, signed at close "Jim". The letter was written just before the trip because: "It would be difficult enroute (i.e. no secretary, no word processor, etc.). Besides, I want to save the story of what actually happened until the next time we meet." It explains how he was invited on the trip at dinner one night (he decided "why not?") and gives a summary of the plans for the four-man group. The large envelope bears a custom cachet of the "Bedford - Malott - Lovell - Toli" trip and is uniquely cancelled twice on April 13, 1987, at the North Pole with James A. Lovell named as international courier. Quite interesting. Mailing folds, envelope slightly torn at top, overall fine.
Transcript of Letter:
Actually, it all started over dinner. During a lull in the conversation, Bob Malott casually mentioned: would I be interested in making a trip to the North Pole? After I checked the amount of wine he consumed, I found out he was serious. He was organizing a group of seven and needed one more. After a while, I thought "why not?" I had never been there, it certainly wasn't your normal vacation and it gave me the opportunity to get around the world in less time than the 88 minutes in Gemini Seven.
"I do not want to give you the impression this is a "first." Most historians agree that the Geographic North Pole was first reached by Admiral Peary in 1909; although that feat was challenged by Dr. Fredrick Cook, who claimed to have made it in April of 1908. Since that time, many people have made the journey - mostly by aircraft, although, dog sleds and even cross-country skis have been used. One couple in 1980 flew their hot air balloon at the Pole and now attempts are being planned using motorcycles and even a motorized hand glider. Submarines transit under the Pole all the time - thanks to the wonders of inertial navigation.
Because of age and the shortage of time, our group decided on aircraft. Out of the original seven, four hardy souls remained; Peter Bedford, Dan Toll, Bob Malott and myself.
Regular jet transport will take us from Chicago to Edmonton, Alberta and then to Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, Northwest Territories. After donning our arctic clothing, we will board a DeHavilland twin otter aircraft equipped with skis and head for Eureka, located on Ellesmere Island, at the 80th parallel. On the way we will detour to pass over the magnetic North Pole.
At Eureka we will wait for good weather and then head north with a fuel stop on the ice cap at the 86th parallel; two hardy souls will be camped there with the fuel and to relay weather, and then head directly for the Geographic North Pole using VLF navigation. Hopefully, we will find a suitable landing spot.
What are we going to do when we get there? Take pictures, test the experimental military arctic clothing generously provided by the folks at Burlington Industries, plant the company flag, celebrate the 17th anniversary of Apollo 13, and postmark the envelope that carried this letter. I have been designated a "temporary international postal courier."
The rest of the trip will be at a more leisurely pace with a visit to the Inuit village at Grise Fiord and observing the wild life and fauna in the arctic region.
Why am I writing this letter before the trip? It would be difficult enroute (i.e. no secretary, no word processor, etc.). Besides, I want to save the story of what actually happened until the next time we meet.
James A. Lovell, Jr.
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