Lincoln Ellsworth

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Lincoln Ellsworth

Birthdate: (71)
Death: 1951 (71)
Immediate Family:

Son of James Ellsworth and Eva Frances Bulter

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Lincoln Ellsworth

Lincoln Ellsworth (May 12, 1880 – May 26, 1951) was an polar explorer from the United States.


He was born on May 12, 1880 to James Ellsworth and Eva Frances Butler in Chicago, Illinois. He also lived in Hudson, Ohio as a child.

Lincoln Ellsworth's father, James, a wealthy coal man from the United States, spent US$100,000 to fund Roald Amundsen's 1925 attempt to fly from Svalbard to the North Pole. Two Dornier-Wal flying boats, the N24 and N25, attempted to reach the North Pole on May 21st. When one airplane lost power both made forced landings and, as a result, became separated. It took 3 days for the crews to regroup and 7 take off attempts before they were able to return N25 to the air 28 days later.

In 1926, Ellsworth accompanied Amundsen on his second effort to fly over the Pole in the airship Norge, designed and piloted by the Italian engineer Umberto Nobile, in a flight from Svalbard to Alaska. On May 12, the Geographic North Pole was sighted. This was the first undisputed sighting of the area.

Ellsworth made four expeditions to Antarctica between 1933 and 1939, using as his aircraft transporter and base a former Norwegian herring boat that he named Wyatt Earp after his hero.

On November 23, 1935, Ellsworth discovered the Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica when he made a trans-Antarctic flight from Dundee Island to the Ross Ice Shelf. He gave the descriptive name Sentinel Range, which was later named for the northern half of the Ellsworth Mountains. During the flight, his aircraft ran out of fuel, forcing a landing near the Little America camp established by Richard Byrd. Because of a faulty radio, he and his pilot, Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, were unable to notify authorities about the landing. The two men were declared missing, and the British research ship Discovery sailed from New Zealand on a search mission. The two men were discovered Jan. 16, 1936, after almost two months alone at Little America. They returned to New York City on April 6, and their support ship, the MS Wyatt Earp, arrived separately two weeks later.

Mount Ellsworth and Lake Ellsworth, both in Antarctica, are also named after him.


In 1927, the Boy Scouts of America made Ellsworth an Honorary Scout, a new category of Scout created that same year. This distinction was given to "American citizens whose achievements in outdoor activity, exploration and worthwhile adventure are of such an exceptional character as to capture the imagination of boys...". The other eighteen men who were awarded this distinction were: Roy Chapman Andrews; Robert Bartlett; Frederick Russell Burnham; Richard E. Byrd; George Kruck Cherrie; James L. Clark; Merian C. Cooper; Louis Agassiz Fuertes; George Bird Grinnell; Charles A. Lindbergh; Donald Baxter MacMillan; Clifford H. Pope; George Palmer Putnam; Kermit Roosevelt; Carl Rungius; Stewart Edward White; Orville Wright. The Boy Scout's Book of True Adventure, Fourteen Honorary Scouts, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in New York in 1931 includes an essay "The First Crossing of the Polar Sea" by Lincoln Ellsworth. The United States Postal Service once produced a stamp with his picture. To this day, the high school teams in Hudson, Ohio, are named "The Explorers" after Ellsworth.

In 1928, Ellsworth was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal that honored both his 1925 and 1926 polar flights. Eight years later in 1936 he was awarded a second medal, for "his claims on behalf of the United States of approximately 350,000 square miles in Antarctica and for his 2,500-mile aerial survey of the heart of Antarctica." He thus became one of only four people to be awarded two Congressional Gold Medals.

The Antarctic base Ellsworth Station was named after him.

Lincoln Ellsworth was featured on a U.S. postage stamp issued in 1988.

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Lincoln Ellsworth's Timeline

Age 71