Milton Galle

Milton Galle was the youngest member of the Wrangel Island Expedition at 19 years old. He was raised in New Braunfels, Texas. He first met Stefansson at a Chautauqua circuit then later became his secretary. Fred Maurer and Lorne Knight (other members of the Wrangel Island Expedition) took a liking to him and asked Stefansson to bring him with them on the expedition. Though Stefansson was hesitant at first, he eventually allowed Galle to join the expedition. However, he refused to pay him a salary. Instead promising to pay Galle a percentage from the profits of the furs he managed to bring back.

As we read through the documents and correspondence between Galle and Stefansson, it became apparent to us that Galle was exploited by Stefansson on this expedition.  Galle was unaware of the dangers of this expedition and Stefansson took advantage of his dream to go North and his naivety to enlist him on the expedition with no pay.

In this letter from Galle to Stefansson, Galle profusely thanks Stefansson for allowing him on this journey. He then mentions how his mother is worried but he dismisses her worries and asks Stefansson to reassure her as well. Finally, he ends his letter by expressing his hope to see Stefansson next year. The way Galle talks about the expedition and his inevitable return supports the idea that Stefansson did not impart the full extent of the danger of the trip on Galle.

In the next letter, Galle writes to Stefansson telling him with updates about his preparations for the expedition. He briefly mentions his mother's concern, but quickly brushes past that and the bulk of the letter is him talking about how much fun he is having messing with the others. Through this letter, we see his playful personality. We also see that rather than worrying about the logistics of the expedition, Galle is enjoying the fun of joking around with Maurer and Knight. This shows how lightly Galle is taking this expedition. He is naive and excited to be included in the expedition and doesn't seem to be stressed about his lack of experience.


In a third letter from Galle to Stefansson, we see some of Galle's inexperience. In this letter, he writes, "LEAVING ALL TO YOU BECAUSE DO NOT KNOW NATURE OR PLACE OF WORK." This once again shows that Galle was not well prepared for this expedition due to his age and inexperience. Further, Stefansson was well aware of this as they were in close correspondence. However, Stefansson did not prevent Galle from coming on the expedition which ultimately led to Galle's death.