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Frans Reinhold Kjellman: Encyclopedia Arctica 15: Biographies
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Frans Reinhold Kjellman

(Karin Fennow)


Frans Reinhold Kjellman (1846-1907), Swedish botanist and university
professor, member of the Northeast Passage Expedition and three other A. E.
Nordenskiöld expeditions, authority on arctic algae, and prolific writer, was
born in Torsö, Skaraborgs Län, Sweden, November 4, 1846. He matriculated at
Uppsala University in 1868, and received his doctorate in 1872. At the same
time he became a lecturer at the university.
Kjellman's introduction to northern exploration took place in 1872-73,
when he joined A. E. Nordenskiöld on his expedition to Spitsbergen. Ice con–
ditions imprisoned the expedition's ships in Mussel Bay that winter, but scien–
tific work went on regardless. Through the zoological research carried on by
dredging under the ice, Kjellman was able to continue his observations of the
marine algae of the region.
In 1875 Kjellman was a member of Nordenskiöld's expedition to Novaya Zemlya
and Siberia. When the party split up and Nordenskiöld and some of the other
men left their ship, the Prøven , in Dickson Harbor to make their way back to
Sweden via boat and steamer up the Yenisei River and by land routes, Kjellman
was given command of the remainder of the expedition. He attempted to sail the
Prøven around the northern point of Novaya Zemlya, but when ice conditions to
the north of Cape Middendorf prevented him from taking this route, he went south–
ward to Matochkin Shar. Adverse weather and unfavorable currents notwithstanding,
the botanist-commander succeeded in guiding the ship through the strait and on

EA-Biography. Fennow: Frans Reinhold Kjellman

to Tromsø, Norway.
Kjellman's next voyage north was in 1876, when he accompanied Nordenskiöld
on board the Ymer as far as the vicinity of North Cape, Norway, where he dis–
embarked in order to pursue studies of the marine algae off the Finmark coast.
Kjellman again became associated with Nordenskiöld in 1878, this time as
botanist on the Vega expedition through the Northeast Passage. On this expedi–
tion he assembled a rich collection of botanical material, particularly of arctic
phanerogams and marine algae, on which he worked for several years thereafter.
Moreover, he made a special study of the morphology and development of arctic
phanerogamic flora.
After his return from the Vega expedition, Kjellman devoted himself to a
career of teaching and writing. He was appointed Associate Professor at Uppsala
Univers ty in 1883, and became Professor of Botany there in 1899. He was a
member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences. He died April 22, 1907.
Kjellman's scholarly writings were voluminous, especially on the subject
of marine algae. Because of his extensive northern experience and his published
reports of his findings, many of which deal with arctic flora, he must be con–
sidered an important figure in northern work. Kjellman Island in the Kara Sea,
off the coast of the Taimyr Peninsula, bears his name.
The results of Kjellman's botanical observations and studies during the
Vega expedition and following his return from that voyage were published in
Vega-Expeditionens vetenskapliga iakttagelser , Vols. 1-4 (Stockholm, 1882-85).
His most important publication in this series of reports was entitled Norra
Ishavets Algflora
. He reported on the ecological studies made during the Vega
expedition in his Ur Polarvaxternas Lif (in Nordenskiöld's Studier och forsk–
(1884). Among Kjellman's numerous publications the following may be

EA-Biography. Fennow: Frans Reinhold Kjellman

mentioned: Svenska Polarexpeditionen ar 1872-73 (1875); Om Beringshafets
(Sv. Vet. Akad. Hendl., Vol. 23, 1889); Handbok i Skandinaviens
(1890). On the occasion of Kjellman's sixtieth birthday, in
1906, his students issued in his honor Botaniska studier tillagnada F.R.K .
Hovgaard, A. P. Nordenskiölds Rejse omkring Asien og Europa , Copenhagen, 1881. Leslie, Alex. The Arctic Voyages of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld , Macmillan & Co.,
London, 1879. Nordisk Familjebok , Vol. II, p. 795, Stockholm, 1932-37. Salmonsens Konversations Leksikon . Vol. XIV, p. 34, Copenhagen, 1923.
Karin Fennow
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