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George J. Dufek Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Dufek, George J. (George John), 1903-
Title: George J. Dufek Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1946-1971
Quantity: 9 linear ft.
Abstract: The career of Admiral George John Dufek (1903-1977) in the U.S. Navy included work with the U.S. Antarctic Service (1939-1941), Arctic Task Force 68 (1946), Antarctic Operation Highjump (1946-1947) and Arctic Task Force 80 (1948). After 1955 Dufek commanded Operation Deep Freeze, which provided support for US IGY research programs, and in 1956 he became also U.S. Antarctic Projects Officer. After retiring in 1959 he became Director of the Mariners' Museum in Virginia. Cf. Peter J. Beck, Polar Record, v. 23, no. 145 (1987). The collection includes clippings, photographs, official reports, draft speeches, personal and official correspondence, articles, and scrapbooks. Files relating to Operation Deep Freeze include chronologies, record books, reports, photographs and scrapbooks. There is also some material relating to Dufek's other Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, however these operations are less fully documented.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

George John Dufek (1903-1977) was an American naval officer and arctic expert. Born in Rockford, Illinois, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at his local high school and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1921. Upon graduation in 1925 he received his ensign's commission and commenced his career aboard the battleship USS Maryland. In 1932 he entered flight training school at the U.S. Navy air station in Pensacola, Florida; after graduating as a naval aviator in 1933 he served as navigator and executive officer on three different ships

By 1939 Dufek had been promoted to lieutenant. That spring he requested and received an assignment with Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's third expedition to Antarctica, where he served as navigator of the USS Bear, the flagship of the expedition. In recognition of his many hours of exploratory flying over the South Polar continent Dufek later received the Antarctic Expedition Medal.

During World War II Dufek commanded a flight training squadron, served as senior naval aviator in Algeria during the invasion of North Africa, assisted in the planning for the invasion of Sicily and Salerno and, after his promotion to captain and subsequent reassignment, the invasion of southern France. In September 1944 he assumed command of the USS Bogue, which sank the final German submarine lost in World War II.

After a brief post-war stint in Japan, Dufek was assigned as chief staff officer to a U.S. Navy-Coast Guard task force to establish weather bases in the polar regions. While there he participated in Operation Highjump, a Naval expedition to Antarctica under the command of Admiral Byrd, during which he made the first flight over the Thurston Peninsula and later rescued six survivors of another flight over the same area. He returned to Washington D.C. briefly but by 1947 was back in the Antarctic, this time commanding a task force sent to supply existing weather stations and to establish new ones near the Pole.

During the Korean War the Navy placed Dufek in command of the USS Antietam, then on Kwajalein Island in the Pacific and finally at Whidbey Island Naval air station in Oak Harbor, Washington. But in 1954 his cold-weather expertise was again in demand when he joined a special antarctic planning group preparing for the Navy's Operation Deepfreeze, a scientific polar research expedition. When planning was complete Dufek was given command of Task Force 43, which included more than 80 officers and 1000 enlisted men, three ice-breakers, and three cargo ships, was charged with logistics and support for the expedition. Among other accomplishments the task force established bases on Ross Island and in Little America, and on October 31, 1956 Admiral Dufek and six fellow travelers became the first Americans ever to set foot at the South Pole and to plant the American flag, and the first men ever to land on the pole from the air. After Admiral Byrd's death, Dufek was appointed to succeed him as supervisor of U.S. programs in the South Polar Regions.

Among the numerous recognitions and awards he has received are the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, Croix de Guerre and the Korean Presidential Citation. He is a member of the Legion of Honor with the rank of chevalier, and in August 1957 he received the Distinguished Service Medal.

[Adapted from "Dufek, George J." in Current Biography (1957).]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George J. Dufek Papers are arranged chronologically beginning with his 1938 assignment aboard the U.S.S. Arneb, through his career in the U.S. Navy and appointment as Director of the Mariners' Museum. Dufek's career included work with the U.S. Antarctic Service (1939-1941), Arctic Task Force 68 (1946), Antarctic Operation Highjump (1946-1947), and Arctic Task Force 80 (1948). After 1955 Dufek commanded Operation Deep Freeze, which provided Support for U.S. participation, in International Geophysical Year research programs. Following his retirement in 1959, Dufek became Director of the Mariners' Museum in Virginia. Dufek's papers reflect his interests in both polar regions, and his role in Antarctic affairs between 1955 and 1959. (Cf. "The Papers of Admiral George Dufek ..." by Peter J. Beck from Polar Record, vol. 23, no. 145, 1987.)

The Dufek papers contain chronologies, personal and official correspondence, manuals, reports, press releases, speeches, internal memos, writings, and photographs. The twelve scrapbooks at the end of the collection document the years between 1956 and 1959, with special emphasis an Operation Deep Freeze. They are supplemented by an extensive clippings file which covers 1946 through 1971.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Papers are arranged chronologically by major topic and again chronologically within that.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Dufek, George J. (George John), 1903-

Corporate Bodies

Antietam (Aircraft carrier)
Mariners' Museum (Newport News, Va.)
United States. -- Navy -- Officers.
United States. -- Navy. -- Task Force 43.
United States. -- Navy. -- Task Force 66.
United States. -- Navy. -- Task Force 68.


Admirals -- United States.
International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958.
Scientific expeditions -- Antarctica.
Scientific expeditions -- Arctic regions.
Scientific expeditions -- Polar regions.
Transportation, Military -- Cold weather conditions -- Research.


Arctic regions.
Polar regions.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Phonograph records.
Press releases.
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George J. Dufek Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George J. Dufek, 1973. Gift of George J. Dufek, Jr., 2013.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Aug 1988
Revision history: 12 Nov 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 26 Jun 2017 - media processed, collection rehoused (MRC); 19 May 2022 - box 11 corrected; journal 1956 rehoused as Box 12 (MRC)

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Pre-World War II
Box 1 Press release, U.S.S. Arneb 1938 Feb. 1938
World War II
Box 1 Bogue Bulletin Mar. 1945
Box 1 Orders 1945
Task Force 68
Manuals and reports
Box 1 "Arctic Navigation" Oct. 1947
Box 1 "Arctic Warfare" bibliographies June, Oct. 1946
Box 1 Bibliography on Ice of the Northern Hemisphere 1945
Box 1 "Cold and Heavy Weather Operations" Mar. 1946
Box 1 "Development of Ice-Breaking Vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard," Harvey S. Johnson - "advance copy of paper to be presented at annual meeting, November 14 and 15, 1946" of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
Box 1 "The German Antarctic Expedition of 1938-1939"
Box 1 "Landings on Ice at Cambridge Bay, Canada" June 1947
Box 1 "Report by U.S. Weather Bureau Observers on Arctic Activities" Summer 1947
Public Information Office
Box 1 Biographical sketches 1946
Box 1 Internal memos July-Aug. 1946
Box 1 Photographs 1946
Box 1 Press interviews Oct. 1946
Box 1 Press releases July-Dec. 1946, undated
Box 2 Operation Nanook photographs 1946
Box 2 Operation Nanook leather scrapbook cover
Box 2 "The Secret Land" - MGM movie promotional material
Task Force 80
Box 2 Correspondence 1948
Intelligence reports
Box 2 "Geographical Intelligence Report no. 5" undated
Box 2 "The Warming of the Arctic" Jan. 1949 - translation of Chapter 7 of N.N. Zubov's In the Center of the Arctic
Box 2 Internal memos July-Aug. 1948
Manuals and reports
Box 2 "The Arctic" undated
Box 2 "Climatology of Polar Regions" July 1948
Box 2 Cold weather training manuals, variously titled 1948 (5 items)
Box 2 "Ice Service in Finland" 1937
Box 2 "Manual of Ice Seamanship" 1948
Box 2 "Plan for Arctic Test Transportation Corps Equipment" Aug. 1948
Box 2 "United States Weather Bureau Plans and Instructions for Arctic Operations" summer 1948
Box 2 Miscellaneous fragments: "Air bedding bill"; "Flight quarters bill" undated
Box 2 Photographs 1948 (2 folders)
Box 3 Photographs undated
Box 3 "Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition 1946-1948" 1948 - article by Finn Ronne (reprinted from The Geographical Review, vol. XXXVIII, no. 3
Box 3 Writings, miscellaneous undated - 2 untitled items about U.S. Navy interests in the Arctic and Antarctic and a chronology of Task Force 80 departure (2 folders)
Joint staff
Box 3 Navy, official 1948-1949
Box 3 Personal 1948-1950
Box 3 Report, "A Study Involving a New Design of Icebreaker" Nov. 14, 1950
Task Force 66
Preliminary material
Box 3 "Second Staff Study" Dec. 28, 1948
Box 3 Conference report an Highjump, Planning Group Two Jan. 12, 1949
Box 3 "Third Staff Study" Mar. 14, 1949
Box 3 "Preliminary Statement of Scientific Missions to be Undertaken by the 1950 Navy Antarctic Developments Project (Highjump II) Task Force 66" Aug. 1949
Box 3 Correspondence 1949 - official Navy correspondence
Box 3 Manual containing procedures for parachuting sled-dogs
Box 3 Report, "Antarctic Research Elements of a Coordinated Program" May 1949
U.S.S. Antietam
Box 3 Letters of appreciation written to the Captain 1951-1952
Box 3 Numbered correspondence 1-131 1951-1952 (3 folders)
Printed material
Box 3 Antietam, vol. 1-2 1951-1952
Box 3 Photographs of U.S.S. Antietam Guest Cruise April 26-May 2, 1952
Box 3 Program for U.S.S. Antietam cruise, Pearl Harbor/San Francisco 1952
Box 3 Yearbook 1951-1952 - photo-narrative album
Naval air bases commander
Box 4 Correspondence, personal 1952-1953
Box 4 Dispatches 1952
Box 4 Memos 1952
Task Force 43
Box 4 Correspondence 1955-1959
Box 4 Dispatches and memos 1957, 1959
Box 12 Journal 1956
Box 4 Journal 1958
Manuals and reports
Box 4 "Expedicion Argentina al Mar de Weddell" - translation from Spanish
Box 4 Selected Maps and Charts of Antarctica 1959
Box 4 "Staff Instructions" Aug. 1955
Box 4 "Seismic Observations of the Bird Station Traverse Party" Feb. 1958
Box 4 "Traverse Operations on the Ross Ice Shelf" Mar. 1958
Box 4 Dr. Fuchs' party at the South Pole Jan. 19-20, 1958
Box 4 Miscellaneous undated
Box 4 Public Information Office press releases 1956
Box 7 "All Seven Survived" by George Moss - manuscript
Box 7 "Operation Plan no. 1-56," Knox Coast Task Group
Box 7 "Passenger List of 'Bravo Detachment' Personnel Embarked on USS Curtiss"
Box 7 "Receipt for Special Clothing and Gear" Aug. 1956
Task Force 43, Operation Deep Freeze
Box 7 Chronology 1957-1958
Box 7 Interview transcripts undated (3 items)
Manuals and reports
Box 7 "Operation Plan no. 1-55" 1955 (2 folders)
Box 7 "Report of Operation Deep Freeze IV" 1958-1959
Box 7 Photographs 1956, undated (3 folders)
Box 7 Public Information Office press releases Apr. 26, 1957
Box 7 Speech - rough draft outline
Box 7 "Operation Deep Freeze Fits Out" 1955 - manuscript by George Dufek with Joseph E. Oglesby, eventually (Oct 1956) published in Pegasus
Box 8 Miscellaneous printed material 1959, 1961, undated
"Aviation in the Antarctic" by Henry M. Dater July 1959
"Antarctic Photography" undated
"Deep Freeze Communications" undated
"How McMurdo Gets Its Water" undated
"Rear Admiral David M. Tyree, USN Commander, U.S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica" May 1961
"Some Cold Facts About the Antarctic" by Captain Edwin A. McDonald undated
"USNS 'Eltanin' to Become Antarctic Research Ship" undated
"What's in a Name" undated
untitled, 2 items
International Geophysical Year
Published material
Box 8 Antarctic Program of the United States National Committee for the International Geophysical Year Sept. 1957
Box 8 Antarctica in the International Geophysical Year 1956
Box 8 "Nations Participating in the IGY (1957-1958)" Nov. 1954
Box 8 U. S. National Committee Report, United States National Committee for the International Geophysical Year June 1954
Box 8 "International Geophysical Year" Sept. 2, 1955
Box 8 "U.S. Geological Survey Post-IGY Scientific Program, FY 59" Apr. 1958
U.S.S. Glacier
Box 8 Gazette "News of All Sort" - vol. 2, no. 79 Jan. 7, 1957
Box 8 "Plan of the Day" Jan. 7-8, 1957
Antarctic Conference Preparations
Box 8 Correspondence July 1958-Apr. 1959 (2 folders)
Box 8 Proposals for the management of the Antarctic programs July 1959
Box 8 Alco Products, Inc. Nuclear power plant, George Dufek Day Apr. 16, 1959
Box 8 Antarctic Commission, statements before the House June 14, 1960
Box 8 Article, "New Skipper of the Mariners' Museum" by William Shands Meacham, The Commonwealth May 1961
Box 8 Correspondence 1959-1972, undated (2 folders)
Box 9 Journal 1959, Dec. 1962
Box 9 Naval internal memos Apr. 1959
Box 9 Press releases Nov. 23, 1959
Box 9 "Arctic Ice Breaker Operations," The Oni Review summer 1948; Feb. 1949 - includes draft
Box 9 "Gold Discovered in Antarctica!" undated - holograph
Box 9 "Operation Deepfreeze Nine Great Flights," Pegasus Oct. 1956
Box 9 "Penguins and People" 1939
Box 9 "What We Accomplished in Antarctica," The National Geographic Magazine Oct. 1959
Box 9 Biographical sketch of Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Bird Oct. 4, 1969
Box 9 Book, Great Polar Explorations 1962 - typescript draft
Box 9 Galleys, Operation Deepfreeze - pp. 180-209, with corrections and insertions
Box 9 Report to the Secretary of Defense 1959
Box 9 New Zealand in Color by John Pascoe, Daily Press, Newport News, Va. New Dominion Magazine Jan. 24, 1970
Box 9 Remembrances of Rivers Past by Ernest Schwiebert Apr. 1972 - typescript
Box 9 "Lecture delivered to CNO Conference" Feb. 3, 1949
Box 9 Miscellaneous 1948, undated
Box 9 Articles in Oriental script undated - photocopies
Box 9 Certificates
Box 9 "Commendation of Dr. James Elliott Mooney" Mar. 2, 1966
Box 6 Czech music: The Little Kitten ; The Last Day ; The Bagpipes and the Contrabass, Supraphon F 09 01939 (phonodisc, 45 rpm) (ID#: dufek_g_002)
7" 45 rpm vinyl disc with a spindle hole for a turntable and perforations in the label to punch out a hole for a jukebox 45 rpm adapter. Label is in Czech with handwritten English translations for song titles on both sides. Resleeved and housed in poly bag. Folder of discs also contains a Czech customs declaration for "3 gramophone records" dated May 7, 1963.
Box 6 Czech music: Old Czech Folk Songs, Supraphon F 05 10436 (phonodisc, 45 rpm) (ID#: dufek_g_003)
7" 45 rpm vinyl disc with a spindle hole for a turntable and perforations in the label to punch out a hole for a jukebox 45 rpm adapter. Label is in Czech with handwritten English description "Old Czech Folk Songs" on one side. Resleeved and housed in poly bag. Folder of discs also contains a Czech customs declaration for "3 gramophone records" dated May 7, 1963.
Box 6 Czech music: The Little Sun ; The Vain Cousin, Supraphon F 09 10983 (phonodisc, 45 rpm) (ID#: dufek_g_004)
7" 45 rpm vinyl disc with a spindle hole for a turntable and perforations in the label to punch out a hole for a jukebox 45 rpm adapter. Label is in Czech with handwritten English translations for song titles on both sides. Resleeved and housed in poly bag. Folder of discs also contains a Czech customs declaration for "3 gramophone records" dated May 7, 1963.
Box 5 Interview with Dufek, Armed Forces Radio & Television Service, New York, N.Y. 04/14/1959 (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dufek_g_001)
Cut # 1: Change of Command Ceremony on board USS Glacier; Cut # 2: Interview with Rear Admiral Geroge [sic] Dufek by JOC H.E. Davis For Armed Forces Radio. Two tracking sheets enclosed in the tape box with the tape, one signed by JOC H.E. Davis for shipping to Rear Admiral George Dufek as a personal presentation copy. Back of the tape box labeled "Dateline NATO," "AFRS," dated 4-24-57 with a running time of 4:25 at 7.5 ips, but the front of the box has a round LP sticker labeled "Interview With Rear Admiral Geroge [sic] Dufek, April 14, 1959."
Box 9 Invitations
Box 9 Maps
Box 10 Photographs, personal
Box 10 Photographs, military (2 folders)
Box 10 Poetry, "McMurdo Lament or the Penguin Chorus" undated
Box 10 Speech, "New Views of the Antarctic" by Finn Ronne 1958
Box 10 Miscellaneous names, addresses, telephone numbers
Box 10 Miscellaneous notes for writings, speeches
Box 10 Miscellany
Printed material
Box 10 Articles about Antarctica 1955-1960
Box 10 Clippings 1946, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1955-1959 (10 folders)
Box 11 Clippings 1960-1962, 1971, undated (6 folders)
Box 11 Deep Freeze scrapbook, The Christchurch Star-Sun 1957-1958
Box 11 Deep Freeze scrapbook, The Press 1957-1958
Box 11 Deep Freeze scrapbook, miscellaneous publications 1958-1959
Box 11 Resignation of Sir Anthony Eden, The Christchurch Star-Sun Jan. 10, 1957
Box 11 Berlin Crisis, The New York Times Nov. 1958
Box 11 Galleys, Polar Flight, by Ian Allan undated
Box 11 Magazines, miscellaneous (3 items)
Box 11 Report, "Construction of the Army Nuclear Power Plant PM-2A at Camp Century, Greenland", final report 1961
Box 11 Transactions, American Geophysical Union Mar. 1959
See also Clippings : Deep Freeze scrapbook, The Press; Clippings : Deep Freeze scrapbook, The Christchurch Star-Sun; and Clippings : Deep Freeze scrapbook, miscellaneous publications, above
Oversize 1 [Scrapbook #1] Aug-Oct. 1956
Oversize 1 [Scrapbook #2] Oct-Dec 1956
Oversize 2 [Scrapbook #3] Mar-July 1957
Oversize 2 [Scrapbook #4] Oct-Nov 1957
Oversize 3 [Scrapbook #5] Jun 1957-Dec 1958
Oversize 3 [Scrapbook #6] Nov 1957-Mar 1958
Oversize 4 [Scrapbook #7] Oct 1958
Oversize 4 [Scrapbook #8] Aug 1958-Jan 1959
Oversize 5 [Scrapbook #9] "The Story of the Deepfreeze as it Appeared Daily in the NYT" 1955-1956
Oversize 5 [Scrapbook #10] "vol. 3, Deepfreeze Adm. George Dufek" Dec 7, 1956-Jan 1957
Oversize 6 [Scrapbook #11] "Rear Adm. Dufek's Deepfreeze Scrapbook v. 4" Jan 15, 1957-Feb 23, 1957
Oversize 6 [Scrapbook #12] "Rear Adm. Dufek's Deep Freeze Scrapbook v. 5" Feb. 25, 1957-Mar. 26, 1957
Oversize 6 Wall plaque, "Admiral Byrd's Greatest Discovery"

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