Henry Grinnell (1799 - 1874)

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About Henry Grinnell

Henry Grinnell (born February 18, 1799 in New Bedford, Massachusetts - June 30, 1874) was an American merchant and philanthropist.

In 1818, Grinnell moved to New York City where he became a clerk in the commission house of H.D. & E.B. Sewell. He married Sarah Minturn in 1822. In 1825, Henry joined his brother Joseph Grinnell in Fish, Grinnell & Company. A few years later, with the addition of Henry's brother-in-law, this became Grinnell, Minturn & Company, a firm whose operations were greatly expanded by its entry into the general shipping business. This company became one of the strongest mercantile houses in New York City.

Henry Grinnell retired in 1850, around the time that he became very interested in the fate of the lost Franklin Polar Expedition. For the remainder of his life he corresponded regularly with Lady Jane Franklin and others interested in solving the mystery, as well as promoting and funding several expeditions.

The first of these expeditions was in 1850, when he purchased and loaned to the United States Navy the brigs Rescue and Advance to search the Arctic under the overall command of Lieutenant Edwin De Haven. After these vessels returned unsuccessful, he funded a second expedition with the Advance under Elisha Kent Kane which explored the region named Grinnell Land off the north-western coast of Greenland between 1853 and 1855, when the vessel, hopelessly beset in the ice, was abandoned.

In 1856, Grinnell was instrumental in having the recently salvaged HMS Resolute restored at the expense of the United States government, and returned to Great Britain as a good-will gesture. This was partly in the hope that the vessel would be used for a further search for the Franklin expedition.

On later occasions, Grinnell manifested his unabated interest in polar exploration by contributing to the voyage of Isaac Israel Hayes in 1860, and the three expeditions of Charles Francis Hall between 1860 and 1870. He was also a regular correspondent with the writer and unsuccessful explorer William Parker Snow.

Henry Grinnell was also one of the founders of the American Geographical and Statistical Society.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Grinnell

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Henry Grinnell's Timeline

1799
February 18, 1799
1825
1825
Age 25
1827
1827
Age 27
1829
1829
Age 29
1831
1831
Age 31
1834
1834
Age 34
1836
1836
Age 36
1838
1838
Age 38
1843
1843
Age 43
1874
June 30, 1874
Age 75