Isaac Israel Hayes

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Isaac Israel Hayes
Isaac Israel Hayes.jpg
Hayes between 1860 and 1875
Born (1832-03-05)March 5, 1832
Chester County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died December 17, 1881(1881-12-17) (aged 49)
Occupation Physician, politician, explorer

Isaac Israel Hayes (March 5, 1832 – December 17, 1881) was an American Arctic explorer, physician, and politician.

Hayes was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania. After completing his medical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Hayes signed on as ship's surgeon for the Second Grinnell Expedition of 1853–1855 led by Elisha Kane to search for Franklin's lost expedition. His 1854 exploration of the east coast of Ellesmere Island north of 79° north resulted in new and accurately mapped geographical discoveries. Hayes was apparently the first non-aboriginal explorer of Ellesmere.

Hayes led his own expedition from 1860 to 1861, and claimed to have reached the farthest north; on the Ellesmere Island coast at 81°35' north, 70°30' west. It was later found that this position is deep within Ellesmere, not on the coast, and that Hayes's resulting map of Ellesmere north of 80° north was erroneous, possibly because he had represented seriously non-noon sextant observations of the sun as having been taken at noon, but more likely due to his having deliberately inverted the second digit in his report of his farthest lone lower limb sextant double altitude of the sun, to read 56°52′ instead of the true observation 59°52′. It is hard to explain how else he could have produced a latitude too high by one and a half degrees in tandem with an exactly correct longitude. Hayes's 1861 farthest was at Cape Collinson, less than 10 miles north of 80° north, longitude 70°30′ west.

Hayes returned to the United States in 1861 claiming also to have seen the fictional Open Polar Sea reported by Elisha Kane in 1855. The American Civil War|Civil War, however, had come to preoccupy Americans and diminished public interest in Hayes' reports of discovery. During the war, Hayes commanded Satterlee Hospital, a sprawling Union Army 4,500-bed hospital in Philadelphia. Hayes was also a Republican member of the New York State Assembly, from 1876 until 1881.

Hayes's expedition was memorialized in Frederic Edwin Church's 1865 painting Aurora Borealis. The United States Range on Canada's Ellesmere Island is named after his ship. One of Russia's Franz Josef Land's islands, Heiss Island—a German cartographer's transliteration of Hayes Island–is named after him.

Further reading

  • Johnson, Robert E. Hayes, Isaac Israel in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 11, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003
  • Robinson, Michael The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
  • Wamsley, Douglas W. Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D, (American Philosophical Society Press, 2009) ISBN 0871692627

External links

  • Works by Isaac Israel Hayes at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Isaac Israel Hayes at Internet Archive
  • Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  • Hayes' 1860–1861 backers, data, alterations, maps, picture of farthest
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