“Blessed with a special taste for blundering into unknown parts and coming out the other side with a more or less reliable map”

Norman Jacobs’s assessment of his skills and an explanation for his desire to specialize in exploration work, in a 14 November 1908 letter. At that point he had already been doing survey work for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway for a couple of years; his proposal to the letter’s recipient was still a couple years in the future.

Starting last fall, a few of us worked on processing the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway collection. More will be available digitally in the near future, but in the meantime I wanted to share some quotes. Norman Jacobs is an entertaining writer; it’s fun to be on a first name basis with him.