Identified individuals are represented by a biographical sketch, a list of connections to other signatures, and, in most cases, an artifact from the Ransom Centers collections. Help us identify more signatures by submitting your suggested identification.
The explorer, anthropologist, and writer Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962) was born to Icelandic parents in Gimli, Manitoba and was raised in North Dakota. Stefansson undertook expeditions to Iceland, Cape Parry, and various Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska, and discovered significant geographical landmarks and at least one Inuit tribe. Following the death of a number of his men during his major arctic exploration of 1913-1918, Stefansson moved to Greenwich Village, where he mingled with writers, artists, and radicals. He toured, lectured, and wrote extensively about his explorations and the peoples and landscapes he encountered, publishing two dozen books and hundreds of articles about his work and experiences.
A letter from Vilhjalmur Stefansson to Fannie Hurst, 6 May 1924
In the 1920s, Stefansson began a long and secret love affair with the novelist Fannie Hurst, who stayed married to the pianist Jacques Danielson though the couple maintained separate residences. In this letter, Stefansson writes to Hurst in a manner that is at once passionate and coy. At the letter's close, he instructs Hurst to "read between the lines the things I wish I could say."