The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame

Overview

The first comprehensive biography of Louise Arner Boyd — the intrepid American socialite who reinvented herself as the leading female polar explorer of the twentieth century.

Born in the late 1880s to a gritty mining magnate who made his millions in the California gold rush and a well-bred mother descended from one of New York’s distinguished families, society beauty Louise Arner Boyd was raised during a glittering era. She was presented at the British royal court, and travelled in genteel style from one dazzling capital to another.

After inheriting a staggering family fortune while only in her thirties, she began leading a double life. She fell under the spell of the north in the late 1920s after a sailing excursion to the Arctic Ocean. Over the next three decades, she achieved international notoriety as a rugged and audacious polar explorer while maintaining her flamboyant lifestyle as a leading philanthropist and society woman. Yet despite organizing, financing, and directing seven daring Arctic expeditions between 1926 and 1955, she is virtually unknown today.

About the Author

Joanna Kafarowski

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 13, 2016
Joanna Kafarowski photo

Joanna Kafarowski

Dr. Joanna Kafarowski is a geographer and lecturer who has worked with Indigenous communities across the Arctic. She undertook ten years of research into Boyd’s life in archives and museums across North America and Europe. Like Miss Boyd, she is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Society of Woman Geographers. Joanna lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.