Louise Arner Boyd was born in 1887 in San Rafael, California, near San Francisco. When she was only 13 years old, she inherited all of her family's fortune and began to travel around Europe. In 1924, she visited the Arctic on a Norweigan cruise liner, and this one visit sparked her interest in polar exploration. So, in 1926, she took some friends from Norway to the Arctic Ocean on a Norweigan ship to see more of this beautiful Arctic.
In 1928, Louise began her first Arctic expedition, her mission being to find the missing Norweigan Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen, who had gone missing while looking for another missing explorer, an Italian named Umberto Nobile. She not only led the expedition, but financed it as well with her inheritance, for her family had been very wealthy. Her expedition traveled over 16,100 kilometers, roughly equal to about 10,000 miles, but she never found a trace of Amundsen. Yet, she received the Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav by the Norweigan government for all she accomplished.
Louise started taking annual trips to the Arctic in 1931. That year, she explored northeast Greenland and studied glacial formations, plant life, and animal life on the De Geer Glacier. She received recognition from this by having an area named after her. It was called Louise Boyd Land.
Louise began another expedition in 1933, sponsored by the American Geographic Society. Once again, she examined glacial formations, but she also measured offshore ocean depts. She also did more ocean-depth research in the Arctic northeast of Norway in 1937 and 1938. With this research, she helped prove the presence of an underwater mountain range between Jan Mayen Island and Bear Island.
No expeditions were made in 1939 and 1940 because of World War II, but she did lead an expedition in 1941 sponsored by the United States. In this expedition, she examined the effects of the poles' magnetic phenomena on radio communications and also served as a military strategy advisor. For serving this rank, she was given the Certificate of Recognition by the United States in 1949.
In 1955, Louise became the first woman to fly over the North Pole. After that point, she spent the rest of her life in San Francisco, California, where she died in 1972.
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