Fritz Loewe and polar exploration

Figure 1: Fritz Loewe

The University of Melbourne Archives is thrilled to announce that the papers of meteorologist and glaciologist Fritz Loewe, first acquired by the University of Melbourne Archives in 1988, have been arranged and described in detail in online finding aids, which are now accessible from our online catalogue.

After a long search for funding and a German speaking archivist, researchers can search across three series for key events, important correspondents and research expeditions as well as being able to view file titles in both German and English.

Correspondence in the 2019.0020 series between Loewe and various University of Melbourne professors offers insight into migration out of Germany from Nazi persecution and the role that institutions such as The University of Melbourne played in assisting Jewish people escape Europe.

Researchers can find data gathered at the beginning of the 20th Century from the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica in the 2019.0021 series, particularly Loewe’s research on Greenland (including his experiences on the Wegener Expedition in 1929-1930) and Antarctica (including the Wyatt Earp Expedition in 1947 and the French Scientific Expedition in 1950-1951). These are important records that may hold valuable evidence of climatic changes and patterns in polar activity.

Loewe collected and curated travel guides, hiking and topographical maps, including maps of the German Reich, as well as keeping journals, newsletters and magazines from various associations and societies. These publications have been collated in the 2019.0022 series.

Many photographs taken by Loewe and his fellow expedition members are discoverable through UMA’s Digitised Items Catalogue, available on the UMA homepage.

Fritz Loewe’s papers are a significant part of UMA’s holdings of collections relating to polar exploration. His research in Antarctica follows the work of earlier explorers, such as geologist and the University’s first Vice-chancellor Sir Raymond Priestley. Part of Ernest Shackleton’s (1907-1909) and Robert Falcon Scott’s disastrous (1910-1913) expeditions, his collection of 1,300 glass lantern slides are digitised and available on the Digitised Items catalogue.

The University’s involvement in Antarctic research is illustrated in material found in the University Registrar’s Correspondence series, from its earliest beginnings through to the 1980s. Researchers can also use the Registrar’s Correspondence series to follow the University’s efforts to bring Loewe to Melbourne, and head Australia’s first university Department of Meteorology.

For further information about UMA collection material relating to Antarctica see the Polar Exploration subject guide.

Figure 2: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition

Figure 1: Loewe looking through an instrument, undated, Fritz Leowe Collection,1988.0160.00097

Figure 2: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition, January 1908. Sir Raymond Priestley Collection, 2017.0071.00685

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