Most of Alexander Fisher's life is lost to historical record. He was probably born in England around 1790. His education and Royal Navy officer status indicate that he probably came from a prosperous background, very possibly an upper class one. Fisher's writings indicate that he had a strong knowledge of science as well as medicine. His detailed descriptions of the dissections of birds, walrus, narwhal, polar bear, and seal illustrate that he was a careful, meticulous man. Fisher quickly put his account of the 1819-1820 Parry-led voyage into print, thus forcing an annoyed Parry to rush his journal before Fisher grabbed all the attention. Fisher's act may indicate a desire for glory or money, perhaps both. Fisher's publication may also explain why he made no further Arctic journeys with Parry. Fisher is believed to have died in 1838, location and cause of death both unknown.

Caryn E. Neumann

Further Reading

Berton, Pierre, The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909, New York: Viking Penguin, 1988

Thomson, George Malcolm, The North West Passage, London: Secker and Warburg, 1975

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