Original Employment Contract for the Nimrod Expedition

ROBERTS, William C. / SHACKLETON, Ernest H.

SHACKLETON'S SIGNED CONTRACT

SHACKLETON, Ernest H. Original Employment Contract for the Nimrod Expedition

1907.

The original Agreement of Service between E. H. Shackleton and William C. Roberts for the Nimrod Expedition. A single bifolium sheet, typewritten in carbon, signed by Shackleton and Roberts, and witnessed by the company secretary. Very clean and in fine condition.

William C. Roberts had been chosen as cook for the Nimrod expedition following the issues with unruly cooks on the Discovery expedition (they went through two cooks en route to the Antarctic before settling on a third, Charles Clarke). "Roberts, at the age of thirty-five, had had extensive experience as a cook both on land and sea, most recently serving as the pastry chef at the Naval and Military Club" (Beau Riffenburgh, Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition).
Though he received few mentions in Shackleton's account of the expedition, he was a talented and adventurous cook. "Years later, a visitor to the Cape Royds hut whose kitchen was Roberts's domain thought that 'Shackleton's men must have fed like turkey cocks for all the delicacies here'" (Jason C. Anthony, Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine).
The "Agreement Of Service" comprises seven clauses, including the provision of salary ("two hundred pounds per annum"), obedience ("the member of staff shall... obey all commands") and restrictions on writing about the expedition, bringing material home and giving lectures on their return.
We can find no record of any other agreement of service or employment contract of any kind for a member of the Nimrod Expedition being previously offered for sale or institutionally held.

PROVENANCE: From the collection of William C. Roberts, the cook to the Nimrod expedition.

Stock ID: 39226

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