Louise Arner Boyd
"I like the pleasant things most women enjoy, even if I do wear breeches and boots on an expedition, even sleep in them at times.... but I powder my nose before going on deck, no matter how rough the sea is." ~ Louise Arner Boyd

Louise Arner Boyd, know as the "Ice Woman," was born in 1887 to a very wealthy family in San Rafael, California, near San Francisco. In 1920, at age 33, both her parents died and she inherited her family's fortune. She then spent the next several years touring Europe, and when visiting the Arctic on a Norweigan cruise liner in 1924, her interest in polar exploration was sparked. In 1928, while she was chartering a Norweigen cruise liner, word came that the great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was missing on a rescue mission flight while searching for another missing explorer. Louise immediately offered her services (and finances), traveling nearly 10,000 miles in the region to help find Amundsen.

While Amundsen was never found and rescued, Louise was awarded the Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav by the Norwegian government. In 1931 Louise returned to the Arctic, leading a scientific expedition to the fjord region of Greenland’s east coast. There she studied glacial formations, photographing plant and animal life on De Geer Glacier. Later this area she explored was named after her – Louise Boyd Land.

During an expedition sponsored by the American Geographic Society in 1933 Louise studied glacial formations in the same area. Expeditions in 1937 and 1938 discovered and studied the submarine ridge lying between Bear and Jan Mayen Islands. She also led another Greenland expedition in 1941, financed by the US government. She there studied effects of polar magnetism on radio communications. The U.S. Army awarded her a 'Certificate of Appreciation' for the work she performed in 1942 and 1943 as an adviser on military strategy in the Arctic

The Fiord Region of East Greenland (1935) and The Coast of Northeast Greenland (1948), two books written by Boyd, describe her Greenland expeditions. In 1955, at age 67, Louise was the first woman to fly over the North Pole when she chartered a DC-4 aircraft for a 16-hour non-stop flight over the region. This was the first privately financed, non-commercial and non-military flight over the North Pole. Louise died in 1972 at the age 85 in San Francisco, California.


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