“MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.”

Question
Subject: Historical Classified Ad — Arctic Expedition Volunteers
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: godude-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 06 Aug 2002 11:16 PDT
Expires: 05 Sep 2002 11:16 PDT
Question ID: 51320
Can you find a copy of the famous classified ad that asked for
volunteers for an arctic (or antactic) expedition in the 1800's (early
1900's?). It promised:
misery, pain, hardship, danger with almost nothing in return; it
fetched thousands of volunteers. I don't know if it was lead by Byrd,
Perry, Scott, Amundsen, or ...

A friend of mine sent me a quotation of it a few years back and
neither of us can find it now.

Answer
Subject: Re: Historical Classified Ad — Arctic Expedition Volunteers
Answered By: huntsman-ga on 06 Aug 2002 13:14 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Godude, 

The classified ad you are looking for is allegedly from Ernest
Shackleton (1874-1922), the invincible Antarctic explorer whose fame
came from his expeditions -- none of them successful -- to reach the
South Pole.

The text of the ad typically reads:

  "MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, 
   BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS,
   CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND
   RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."

This ad was supposedly placed by Shackleton in London newspapers
before one of his expeditions. It has been widely cited by many
writers and speakers as an example of leadership and determination in
the face of dangerous odds.

Whether Ernest Shackleton actually placed such an ad is another
question, one that has puzzled Antarctic researchers for some time.
For example, "The Antarctic Circle" web site has offered a $100 reward
to anyone who can document the ad, but there are no winners yet.
Although a definitive source is yet to be found, the research contains
many interesting details about the history of the Shackleton ad. You
can read about them here:

   The Antarctic Circle
   $100 Contest
   http://www.antarctic-circle.org/advert.htm

"SHACKLETON QUOTE -

The Antarctic Circle will pay US$100 to the first person who can
provide the original source -- date and name of the newspaper it
appeared in -- of the following advertisement:

"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. LOW WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG HOURS
OF COMPLETE DARKNESS. SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN
EVENT OF SUCCESS."

The source of this often repeated advert (it even is featured on T
shirts) has never been identified although many have sifted through
scores of British newspapers in the attempt. It may very well be
apocryphal. It is said to have been placed by Shackleton during the
planning of his Nimrod expedition. Good luck!"

While the jury may still out over the ad's existence, no one can doubt
Shackleton's example of leadership and his successful efforts to save
the lives of his men. Although Shackleton never made it to the South
Pole, in his case the journey was worth more than the elusive goal.

Thank you,
Huntsman

P.S. - For historical details about Ernest Shackleton, I suggest you
start with the information and links at The James Caird Society
(http://www.jamescairdsociety.com/). There is also a concise
Shackleton biography here:

   Antarctic Explorers
   Ernest Shackleton
   http://www.south-pole.com/p0000097.htm

References - 

NOVA Online
Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/shackleton/1914/team.html

"MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG
MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.
HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"

"Who would answer such an ad, which Shackleton placed in a London
newspaper seeking recruits for his 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic
Expedition? "

Wake Forest University
Senator John McCain's 2002 Commencement Address
http://www.wfu.edu/wfunews/2002/052002mccain.html

"A few years ago, I read an account of an Irishman’s attempt to make
the first crossing of the Antarctic on foot. In August 1914, Sir
Ernest Shackleton placed an advertisement in a London newspaper.

"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG
MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.
HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."

Twenty-eight men answered the ad and began a twenty-two month trial of
wind, ice, snow and endurance."

ABC News
Advice for the Graduates
Sam Donaldson's Daily Commentary
http://abcnews.go.com/webcasts/samdonaldson/SamSays010514.html

"An ad once appeared in a London newspaper: 'WANTED: MEN FOR HAZARDOUS
JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS,
CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE
OF SUCCESS.'"

"... the ad put in that London newspaper back in 1912, by Ernest
Shackleton, the British Antarctic explorer; scores of men did. They
never reached the South Pole and they endured the most horrific
hardship. But they all got back alive and their names will live
forever in the annals of the brave."

Movie Habit
Shackleton Review 
http://www.moviehabit.com/reviews/sha_e702.shtml

"Men wanted for hazardous journey.
Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness.
Constant danger. Safe return doubtful." 

"That was the help wanted ad Ernest Shackleton placed while in search
of a crew for his 1914 expedition to Antarctica. It was an ad nearly
5,000 applicants (including three women) found irresistible."

APICS Hartford County Chapter #6
Top Management Night
http://www.apics-hartford.com/pastevents/Jan2002.htm

"Help Wanted -

MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY.SMALL WAGES, 
BITTER COLD. LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS. 
CONSTANT DANGER. SAFE RETURN, DOUBTFUL. 
HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."

CTRN News
Colorado Technical Recruiters Network
Susan Hausman, Editor
www.ctrn.org/archive/news0005.pdf 

"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL
WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE
DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.
HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."

Ernest Shackleton’s ad placed in the
London papers, recruiting members for his
1912 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Search Terms & Google Results - 

"help wanted" antarctic expedition 
://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=%22help+wanted%22+antarctic+expedition

"Ernest Shackleton" newspaper ad
://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=%22Ernest+Shackleton%22+newspaper+ad

"Ernest Shackleton"
://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=%22Ernest+Shackleton%22
godude-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

This is the first time I have used this search service. Your answer
was *more* than I expected. While I had suspected that the ad text may
be "urban legend" your answer clarifies that this is an open question.

In fact, given the wealth of information you have found, I am now,
frankly, embarrased that I could not find *anything* myself. My hat is
tipped off to your "spelunking" skills.

Thanks a lot.

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