Patricia Erikson


Thornton Academy

whitecapconsulting [at]


29 Greenwood Street
Peaks Island, ME 04108
United States

Brief Biography

Patricia Erikson is a cultural anthropologist and Native American Studies scholar whose research pursues the history of arctic exploration, with particular emphasis on the participation of women. For the last ten years she has researched the archival collection of Josephine Peary's papers and photographs to document the role of Robert Peary's wife in late 19th/early 20th century exploration of Northwest Greenland. She employs a feminist geography analysis to look at issues of race, class, and gender in the Arctic. "I believe that the discussion of gender in the Arctic, as well as issues of race, are insufficiently discussed."

After years of archival research on polar exploration history, Erikson traveled to Northwest Greenland to retrace the journey of Robert Peary, enabling publication of "Homemaking, Snowbabies, and the Search for the North Pole" in North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic Exploration (2013), A volume of papers on the history of late 19th and early 20th century Arctic exploration honoring the 100th anniversary of Robert E. Peary's historic 1908-09 North Pole Expedition and recognizing the third International Polar Year (2007-09). These papers came out of an International Conference on Arctic Exploration at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Erikson is also the author of the non-fiction book "Voices of a Thousand People: The Makah Cultural and Research Center" (U. Nebraska Press), several chapters in edited collections, and articles in academic journals such as American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology, and Ethnohistory.

When she's not writing, Erikson works as a nationally certified public relations professional for educational institutions and seeks the rush of arctic air on Maine's ski slopes whenever possible.

A few representative lectures include:

No Place for a Woman: Josephine Peary and American Expeditions to Discover the North Pole
Homemaking, Snowbabies, and the Search for the North Pole
Josephine Peary and American Narratives of Arctic Discovery

Science Specialties

cultural history, history of exploration, museum anthropology, cultural anthropology, ethnography, gender studies, self-determination movements, indigenous peoples, instructional design consulting, public relations

Current Research

Josephine Diebitsch Peary, the wife of Robert E. Peary, and her role in Peary's Arctic expeditions