As geologist on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917, James Mann Wordie (1889-1962) used his observations to good effect.
Stranded on Elephant Island in the Weddell Sea for several months in 1915, he had little more than dust to collect. Yet he managed to produce research on various aspects of the area that greatly increased knowledge and understanding of the Antarctic region.
One of the reasons Ernest Shackleton recruited Wordie for the expedition was his climbing prowess.
Wordie was a very enthusiastic rock climber and alpinist. Climbing more than 50 Scottish mountains while still in his teens, he joined with the notorious 'night-climbers' scaling the facades of buildings in Cambridge.
Early interest in mountains
His interest in mountains and geology stemmed from early family holidays in the Alps.
In a journal he wrote aged 14 on a tour of Switzerland he added photos, postcards and dried flowers to the record of his adventure.
Early walking hill-walking trips with his father instilled in Wordie a particular fondness for Glencoe.
When the estate came up for sale in1935 he was amongst a small group who garnered support and funds to enable the newly formed National Trust for Scotland to buy and preserve the land.
The Wordie Collection
For more on Wordie and on his collection at the National Library, see:
We also have three inventories of manuscripts in the Wordie Collection, which are listed under 'W' in the Guide to manuscript collections. You can read one of them online:
- Inventory Acc.12559 of Wordie Collection manuscripts (PDF) (99 KB: 10 pages)
Items from the collection of James Mann Wordie are at the core of our treasures display 'Beyond Endurance' at the Library from 20 November to 18 January.