American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mary Jobe Akeley

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1967

MARY JOBE AKELEY

1886-1966

Mary Jobe joined the Club in 1915. She had begun climbing in the Canadian Rockies in 1909 and in 1913, 1915 and 1917 she made pack trips, one in the late fall, into the far northern Rockies to reach and if possible to climb a mountain then known as "Kitchi” but later named Sir Alexander (10,700 feet). This was thought then to be some 12,000 feet. In 1915 the attempt failed only because of dangerous summit cornices. She did climb Mount Bess that year.

A few years later she married the famous explorer, Carl Akeley, who had developed the modern method of mounting big game animals in natural positions in contrast to earlier stuffed animals. In 1926 while they were on an expedition in the Kivu district of eastern Belgian Congo, he died of a tropical fever and was buried on the edge of the gorilla forest on a wooded saddle between Mounts Mikero and Karissimble. Undaunted, his widow carried on with three more expeditions, one under the aegis of the late General Jan Christian Smuts. For this work she was made Knight of the Order of the Crown by King Albert of Belgium.

After her husband’s death, she helped for years to carry on his work of mounting game animals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York which appear in many of the remarkable natural habitat exhibits still to be seen there. During her last few years she was unable to attend the Club’s annual meetings because of failing health, but she was always glad to hear of the doings of others in the Canadian mountains and more especially in Africa.

Henry S. Hall, Jr.

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