Herman Georg Simmons (1866-1943)

Simmons was born in Skåne, Sweden and participated as botanist on Otto Sverdrup’s 2nd Fram expedition to northwest Greenland and the islands of northeast Canada 1898-1902
Herman Georg Simmons (1866-1943)

Herman Georg Simmons had previously, in 1895, been on an expedition to the Faroe Islands. He published several scientific works from the Fram expedition.

The 2nd Fram expedition was different from the two others, with Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, in the number of qualified scientists that participated - 5 of the 16. The expedition therefore produced an impressive amount of scientific data, in addition to surveying c. 150 000 km2 of the previously uncharted islands of what today is the Canadian province of Nunavut.

Despite the amount of botanical material that Simmons managed to gather, he found the expedition at times to be frustrating. This was because the scientists were under the command of the mates of the Fram, Baumann and Raanes, and not directly under Captain Sverdrup. The professional sailors, including Sverdrup, did not quite understand all this botanising. In addition the expedition contract bound the participants to take any work onboard that they were ordered to. The situation gave Simmons a serious depression during the last two winters. He instructed the expedition cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm, in plant collecting, which Lindstrøm did with great eagerness and success.

Simmons was able to collect enough data to publish widely on return. He became internationally known as an Arctic botanist and he held many lectures, including one in 1904 on the distribution and migrations of Eskimos. In 1906 he became lecturer at the University of Lund, and then was professor at the Ultuna Agricultural Institute near Uppsala 1918-32. From 1928-32 he was head of the Institute. After his retirement he continued to publish from his house at Lidingø by Stockholm.