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‘Gloriously Widowed’: Public Mourning and Private Grief in the Aftermath of Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-1913

Deborah Wood

Published In:
Published Date:

January 2024


Grief, Antarctic History, Women's History, Public Memory, Legacy, Polar Exploration


This article explores the emotional experiences of two families who were bereaved by the Terra Nova expedition. The very public nature of these deaths, and the intensive press coverage of the losses and aftermath of the expedition saw an outpouring of public mourning within Britain; yet for the Scott and Evans families, these deaths were also hugely personal losses. The article argues that press intrusion into the families’ grief profoundly altered their emotional experiences of loss, not only in the immediate aftermath of the deaths, but also in the years that followed. The two families came from profoundly different backgrounds in terms of class, social influence, and the resources available to them after their loss; however, this paper shows how the actions of the press and the persistence of the public gaze briefly united them in this unique experience of loss under the spotlight of Edwardian Britain.

Published in:



110 - 130

Date of Publication:

January 2024

About the author

Deborah Wood

Deborah is a second-year PhD student based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Her research explores the emotional experiences of the bereaved families of British men who died in the pursuit of Antarctic exploration in the early twentieth century. Her research explores both their emotional responses to their bereavement, and their influence on their loved ones’ public and material legacies following their deaths.

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