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Robert E. Hancock Jr. Antarctic Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1976-022

Scope and Contents

The Hancock Antarctic Collection contains materials regarding military operations in the Antarctic, primarily focusing on the Operation Deep Freeze II mission. The collection consists of guidebooks, pamphlets, periodicals, articles, newsletters, and newspaper clippings. The collection also includes log books, supply lists, correspondence, photographs, film, and tapes.

Hancock kept memorabilia from his time in Antarctica and many of these objects are included in the collection. Notable objects include a logbook of passengers that rode on an aviation rescue vessel that has autographs of famous passengers such as Captain Benson Ford, singer Fay MacKenzie, Saul Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Phil Silvers, and dancer Betty Yeaton. A collection of international postage stamps includes stamps from various countries such as Yugoslavia, Ecuador, Finland, The Dominican Republic, The United States, England, and Russia. Other objects include figurines of seals and penguins, food rations from Little America, a 48-star United States flag that was flown over Little America, coal and dirt samples collected in Antarctica, a box of matches found by Hancock at Sir Ernest Shackleton's Cape Royds Camp, and several models of equipment used in Antarctica such as helicopters and airplanes. An illustration made by an unknown Disney artist depicting Mickey Mouse shaking hands with a penguin is also included. Eleven reels of film document voyages of the icebreaker ship USS ATKA, and a collection of over 100 black and white photographs show daily operations, supply deliveries, equipment, machinery, storage units, and personnel.

Online Copies Available

Select materials from the Hancock Collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.


  • Created: 1907-1976
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1956-1958

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Lieutenant Commander Robert E. Hancock Jr. was a veteran supply officer who worked in Antarctica with 150 United States Navy men. Together they operated seven bases that supported 60 International Geophysical Year (IGY) scientists. The project was called Operation Deep Freeze II. In 1957 Hancock wintered over at Little America, a base located 700 miles from the South Pole.


13.40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Hancock Antarctic Collection consists of correspondence, photographs, books, pamphlets, film reels, and memorabilia collected by Robert E. Hancock, Jr. during and after his stay in the Antarctic. The collection gives some insight into the problems of supply, storage, food, housing, and entertainment required for work in such a remote environment.

Method of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Florida State University Libraries by Robert E. Hancock, Jr. in 1976.

Related Materials

Books separated from the Robert E. Hancock Jr. Antarctic Collection are recorded in the FSU Library Catalog.

Processing Information

Series 6, Sub-Series 2, Items 1-3 removed from Box 9 and shelved separately as of August 2016.  Designation "Box 9" not currently in use.

Robert E. Hancock Jr. Antarctic Collection
Stephanie Dutcher
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US