Letter, 15.10.1925, from Axel Ahlman
Object reference: RA 318B2
Sender / Author: Axel Ahlman
Recipient: Roald Amundsen
Lund, 15 Oct. 1925.
The polar explorer Roald Amundsen,
Allow me the liberty of making the following representation.
I have recently signed a contract with Sweden’s leading publishers in the field of popular scientific literature, namely Natur & Kultur, Stockholm, regarding a work, “The History of Arctic Research”. It will be part of the publisher’s large series and will be of the same scope as the other volumes, i.e. about 10 sixteen-page sheets with 1200 letters per page. The book will be published next spring at the latest.
My intention is that someone should illustrate the same, and therefore venture to request that you, Mr Amundsen, will grant me the right to publish a few (6 to 8) photos taken from your last work, which recently came out, but also from your description of the Northwest Passage discovery. Allow me to draw attention to the fact that the book is intended to be distributed mainly in those circles that do not have the means, opportunity to purchase more expensive works; it will therefore be of a purely popular nature. I have made a similar request to, among others, Knud Rasmussen, who kindly gave his permission to reproduce some of his pictures.
In this connection, I would also like to ask if you are willing to allow me to make for my popular science lectures a small number of slides from your expedition photographs.
I should mention that these lectures are state-
sponsored and thus restricted under state control to an entrance of not more than 25 öre, from which, however, the lecturers may only be credited a certain fixed amount, SEK 40, intended to cover their working expenses. The lectures are held partly in the cities but mainly out in the countryside, and are of course primarily intended to spread awareness of modern knowledge and modern culture.
I have been active in the movement for almost 20 years and have mainly specialized in Arctic and Antarctic subjects. To confirm this, I am enclosing a catalogue of the movement’s activities and its lecturers, whose names are listed alphabetically.
Naturally, in several of these lectures I have already dealt with your travels and discoveries to a very high degree, but I intend next year to do so to an even greater degree. It would therefore be for the achievement of the desired result – to spread the best possible knowledge – extremely desirable, if I could have the opportunity to show slides from your last trip. – I can also add here that Knud Rasmussen showed the greatest courtesy and understanding for this outreach activity and put at my disposal a couple of hundred pictures, which he allowed me to choose from his film archive.
I ask you, by the way, to be absolutely convinced that, under all circumstances, I treat these images with the greatest discretion and all due regard for the interest of the person concerned, that they are not misused in any way. I use them, in other words, only in connection with my lectures of the kind indicated above, i.e. for purely public information purposes.
Finally, for general orientation, I should perhaps add that I am a literary author with an output of some fifteen books (short stories, novels and poems). I have also been for many years Knud Rasmussen’s Swedish translator and one of his closest personal friends. I will be extremely grateful for your favourable repsonse!
With best regards