Lviv 1934: Through the Lens of American Explorer Louise Arner Boyd

Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972) was an American explorer of Greenland and the Arctic, who wrote extensively of her explorations, and in 1955 became the first woman to fly over the North Pole privately chartering a DC-4 and crew that included aviation pioneer Thor Solberg.

In August 1934, after being elected as a delegate to the International Geographical Congress in Warsaw, Poland, Louise set out on a three-month journey across the countryside of Poland photographing and recording the customs, dress, economy and culture of the many ethnic Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Lithuanians. The journey, by car, rail, boat and on foot took her first from Lviv to Kovel, through Belarus, and finally to Vilnius. Her travel narrative was supplemented with over 500 photographs and published by the American Geographical Society in 1937 as Polish Countrysides (from Wikipedia).

Louise’s photos from Western Ukraine, in particular from Lviv, are available on the website of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


5 thoughts on “Lviv 1934: Through the Lens of American Explorer Louise Arner Boyd

  1. My father Joseph Margel, and grandfather, Mordechai Markus Margel had a butcher store and house on Sosnowa St. 20. Do you have any pictures of the market and stores in that area!

  2. What a wonderful site and article! Many thanks for including these images taken by the American Arctic explorer Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972). Her 1934 journey to what was then Poland was recounted in full in her book entitled, “Polish Countrysides” which was published by the American Geographical Society in 1936. Although it is now out of print, it is available through various booksellers. Those wanting to learn more about this remarkable explorer may be interested in my recent book. “The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame A Life of Louise Arner Boyd” (Dundurn Press, 2017) is the first comprehensive biography of Miss Boyd and is based on over twelve years of research and writing.

      1. Thank you, Areta. I’m really pleased that this website highlights one aspect of the work of Arctic explorer Louise Arner Boyd. She was a very keen, largely self-taught photographer and her photographs from her book “Polish Countrysides” reflect her curiosity about the relationship between people and their environments. The original images from this trip are carefully preserved at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and can be viewed online.

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