Henry Duncan Spens Goodsir
Mr. Henry Goodsir was born in Anstruther Easter, Fife on 3 November 1819. Referred to as Harry by friends and family, he was just twenty-six years old when he joined the ill-fated Franklin Expedition. Harry was a part of the HMS Erebus crew as its assistant surgeon and naturalist.
What Was Harry Goodsir Like?
Harry Goodsir was wicked smart. In addition to being an anatomist, naturalist, and medical practitioner, he also studied cellular theory with his brother, John, adding his findings to publication.
Harry was so intelligent and passionate about his work that he succeeded his brother as Conservator of the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh, a position Harry held until he joined the Franklin Expedition in 1845. Shortly after, all 129 men vanished entirely.
Not only was he brilliant, but he was a genuine man who lit up a room with his countless fascinations of things everyone else took for granted.
Franklin's Men Enjoyed Harry's Company
At one point before the men of the Franklin Expedition disappeared, Commander James Fitzjames of HMS Erebus wrote that while he himself “started his regular magnetic observations[,] Goodsir continued energetically ‘catching the most extraordinary animals in a net, and is in ecstasies.'”(1)
Fitzjames also wrote of Harry Goodsir: “As soon as more molluscs, fish, or tiny, butterfly-shaped creatures were dredged up from the sea, the doctor hurried [to] draw and describe them.” (2)
Harry Goodsir was often overcome with tremendous joy upon finding new creatures or people, and that just added to his engaging and enjoyable personality. Fitzjames said that Harry Goodsir had a delightful laugh, and he was very well liked.
In 1869, an explorer named Charles Francis Hall was shown to a grave by the native people of Nunavut. Initially, the remains were thought to be those of Lt. Le Vesconte. It wasn't until 2009 when, using the latest technology available, scientists realized the remains were actually most likely Harry Goodsir's.
Harry Goodsir and Jennifer Reinfried
In the newest novel by author Jennifer Reinfried, In Eternity, Harry Goodsir is brought to life like never before.
Fascinated by Harry and his personality, Reinfried set out to introduce readers to the kind and gentle soul of a man who did not deserve to suffer and die alone. What kind of person was he outside of his studies and the letters that described his character? If ice and Arctic animals fascinated him so much, how would he react to some of the modern marvels of our world if he were alive now?
To the horrors?
Helping along the way is a leading authority on the Franklin Expedition, a surviving member of the illustrious Goodsir family, The Proclaimers and their manager, and staff of the Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh.
Together, these three are capturing the kind and gentle soul of a man who did not deserve to suffer and die alone, placing him in a story line readers of A Grim Trilogy will recognize.
Harry Goodsir was a talented, kind, wonderful individual, and Reinfried is thrilled and honored to bring him to life.
In Eternity weaves a tale that partially takes place near the end of the Franklin Expedition in late 1848. It follows a few of the remaining crew of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with Harry Goodsir as one of two leading characters.
Check out the In Eternity description.
Look for In Eternity, an historical fiction sci-fi novel, early 2020.
(1): Battersby, W. (n.d.). James Fitzjames: The Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition. UK: The History Press, p.175.
(2): Watson, P. (2017). Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedtion. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p.35.
by K Lynn Smith