Alfred Taylor

In the infamous Wrangel Island Expedition, Vilhjalmur Stefansson is often credited as the sole visionary, leader, and execution of the expedition; similarly, Allan Crawford, Milton Galle, Fred Maurer, Lorne Knight, and Ada Blackjack’s names have also gone down in history as the valiant explorers who braved the frozen tundra. However, one of the unsung heroes of this operation was Alfred James Towle Taylor, who oversaw the expedition’s finances, maintained a strong public image after its failure, and managed many of the artifacts that tell the story of what happened on the island.

Alfred Taylor—a Canadian businessman, engineer, contractor, and entrepreneur—is most notable for his financing of the Lion’s Gate Bridge, a historic suspension bridge connecting Vancouver to North Vancouver. At the time of the expedition, he was also serving as the Vice President of the Stefansson Arctic Exploration and Development Company. Through investigation various historical documents held at the Rauner Special Collections Library, we explore the specific and essential role that Alfred Taylor played in the 1920s Wrangel Island expedition.