Viewing page 58 of 90

November 23, 1934

Mr. Benedict Gifford,
Gifford Wood Company,
Hudson, New York

Dear Ben: 

A very good friend of ours, Dr. Leuman M. Waugh of 576 Fifth Avenue, New York City is going on a most interesting expedition next Spring into the sub-arctic regions of Alaska.  His trip will take him into a section of the world which has never been traversed by a motor boat, at least in charge of a white man.

Dr. Waugh plans to have a boat built on the Pacific Coast, probably at Seattle and ship it by steamer into the arctic at a point where his cruise will begin.  As there are only two ships a year sailing to these parts, it will be necessary for his boat to be shipped from Seattle on a steamer leaving about May 15, 1935.  Dr. Waugh will not be able to leave New York until about a month later and he will proceed from Seattle to some point in Alaska which can be reached by steamer at that time and make the rest of the journey by airplane tonjoin [[to join]] his boat.

The waters on which Dr. Waugh will cruise will be quite protected, that is there will be very little sailing on the open Pacific.  Most of his expeditions will be on inland waters, bays, rivers etc.  Most of these waters will be very shallow and it will, therefore, be necessary for him to have a boat of not over 18 inches draft.

On account of the conditions to be met in the sub-arctic and the fact that his boat will have to be shipped by steamer, the boat will be more or less small, probably say 26 or 28 feet in length, with the shallow draft requirements already mentioned.  Dr. Waugh has in mind using a 40 horse power Lycoming motor and talking to me last night, he mentioned that he would like to use one of your stern drives which he thought would be of great advantage on account of the shallow conditions to be met. I think Dr. Waugh has already talked with Mr. Prosser about the stern drive and he has recommended a certain type of your drive which he states will carry 80 horse power, thus having a considerable factor in safety.

As Dr. Waugh will be aboard his craft for months at a time and absolutely out of contact with every human being all the time, it will be necessary for him to take all of his provisions, fuels and everything else.  In other words, everything must be worked out to the last detail and the boat, power plant and equipment must be suitable to the nth degree.

My reason for writing you is that Dr. Waugh's expedition is going to be so important that I am very anxious that no part of his equipment fall down.  Of course, I am not saying that there is any likelihood that the Gifford-Wood stern drive would fall down, every for a minute during the three years Dr. Waugh will be in the arctic.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.