William Barr (Arctic historian)

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William (Bill) Barr (born 1940) is a Scottish historian now resident of Calgary, Canada, with a specific interest in the history of exploration of the Arctic, and to a lesser degree, the Antarctic. He holds degrees in Geography from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and McGill University, Québec, Canada. From 1968 until 1999 he was a member of the faculty of the Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada and is now a professor emeritus there.

Since 1999 he is a Research Fellow in residence at the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary.

For the past 30 years the history of the exploration of the Arctic has been the focus of his research. He has published 16 books, including translations from French, German, and Russian. In 2006, William Barr received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the recorded history of the Canadian North from the Canadian Historical Association.

Most of the titles of his works show that William Barr is an admirer of Russian Arctic explorers. His contribution has been crucial to make known to the wider public the exploits of Polar explorations by Russia and the Soviet Union.


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