August and Josef

A history of two brothers

In the summer of 1899 Professor A. G. Nathorst undertook a second expedition to Greenland and Kaiser Frans Josefs Land, having done a similar expedition the year before. The purpose of the expedition was to explore the eastern parts of Greenland and Kaiser Frans Josefs Land to try and find the North Pole expedition lead by Salomon August Andrée in 1897. The expedition had tried to reach the North Pole by air balloon but had disappeared. A secondary goal was naturally to investigate the nature and Eskimo remains in the area.

Josef Hammar participated as the expeditions doctor and ethnographer. He collected a lot of material that is still kept at the Natural History Museum in Stockholm. At least one of the stuffed musk oxes at the museum was shot by the expedition (by Josef himself?).

The the tragic remains of the Andrée expedition was found some thirty years later at Vitön (The White Island) by Danish fishermen. A story within the Hammar family states that Josef also tried to apply for the Andrée expedition at the time but was not admitted. Lucky for all his descendants as he would have perished with the expedition and we would never have existed.

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