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The American Polar Society is a non-profit organization that for 85 years has been advancing interest in, knowledge about, and appreciation for the Earth’s polar regions — the Arctic and Antarctica.

The Society was founded in 1934 by August Howard, the son of a Russian immigrant. Inspired by Admiral Byrd’s first two expeditions to Antarctica (see History), Howard proposed the creation of a privately funded organization to serve as a clearinghouse of information about Antarctica. His vision was the catalyst that launched the American Polar Society (and its Polar Times magazine and public events) as the premier forum and chronicler of the polar regions for eight decades.

Today, the American Polar Society welcomes individual members from a variety of constituencies interested in the polar regions: science, tourism, policy and diplomacy, history, education, technology, indigenous populations, and artists and writers. Building on our history, we also welcome and embrace corporate members such as contractors, tour/cruise ship operators and manufacturers of gear and equipment who have a vested interest in reaching out to our constituencies to broaden and enrich their polar awareness and understanding.

The American Polar Society seeks to elevate and enhance our member experience with a dynamic new interactive website, our magazine, and biannual meetings and symposia.

Stay tuned for exciting developments!

Our Mission

The American Polar Society was founded November 29, 1934, to band together all persons interested in polar science and exploration. Its purpose is to support and encourage research and exploration in the Arctic and Antarctic, and to preserve the record of polar history. Toward these ends, the Society collects and disseminates information about polar regions; compiles written records, oral histories, maps, photographs, film and video, and electronic information relating to these regions; aids organizers and members of polar expeditions; and maintains contact with scientists, explorers, research institutions and other interested parties.

Early polar explorers/members involved in its founding and establishment as an international organization included: Admiral Richard Byrd, Sir Hubert Wilkins, Bernt Balchen, Finn Ronne, General David Brainerd, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and Lincoln Ellsworth. The Society’s president was distinguished polar scientist Paul Siple.

The American Polar Society is classified as a tax exempt organization under Section 501(C)3 of the IRS Code.