Arctic Alaska and Siberia, or, Eight Months with the Arctic Whalemen


Arctic Alaska and Siberia, or, Eight Months with the Arctic Whalemen is an account of the 1887 Arctic whaling season by journalist Herbert L. Aldrich (1860‒1948). Between March and October of 1887, Aldrich spent time on eight New Bedford whaling vessels, documenting the whaling industry and the native peoples of Arctic Alaska. Aldrich was a young reporter for the New Bedford Evening Standard who resolved to accompany the Arctic whaling fleet after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told he had less than a year to live. He received the support of the leaders of New Bedford’s whaling industry, who wanted him to document what they knew to be a dying industry. During his time in the Arctic, Aldrich took more than 700 photographs documenting all aspects of the whale hunt. Many of his photographs are now preserved in New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Upon his return to New Bedford, Aldrich lectured extensively on his experiences and published this book in 1889. The book includes illustrations and a map of the Arctic whaling grounds north of Alaska. Defying predictions of an early death, Aldrich lived into his late eighties. He went on to become managing editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Jacksonville Florida Citizen and in 1897 founded the Aldrich Publishing Company of New York.

Date Created

Publication Information

Rand, McNally, & Company, Chicago


Title in Original Language

Arctic Alaska and Siberia, or, Eight months with the Arctic whalemen

Type of Item

Physical Description

234 pages : photographs


  1. “Aldrich Collection: Overview,” New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Last updated: January 10, 2018