American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes
SMITH, EDGAR NEWBOLD (1926- ). A descendant of a maritime family, Edgar Newbold Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1948. Best known as a collector of naval prints, Smith compiled American Naval Broadsides*: A Collection of Early Naval Prints, 1745-1815 (1974). A collector’s catalog of 117 prints accompanied by a chronological narrative, the work focuses on the American navy under sail, with particular emphasis on events of the American Revolution, the early federal period, and the War of 1812.
In 1976 Smith, an avid sailor, undertook an unprecedented journey to the high Arctic* on his forty-three-foot sloop Reindeer, with a crew of six. They sailed north from Reykjavik, Iceland, to their northernmost destination, Moffen Island, a small atoll inhabited by walruses at 80° north latitude, which brought them to within 600 miles of the North Pole. The homeward journey retraced the route taken by the Vikings past the eastern coast of Greenland through Denmark Strait, with its treacherous fogs, pack ice, and violent squalls. Reindeer was the first American sailing yacht to navigate the strait. Down Denmark Strait (1980) is Smith’s vivid account of the 10,500-mile journey.