Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society
The Making of a Hero, the Marketing of a Celebrity
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Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School
of the University of Texas at Austin
in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Arts
The University of Texas at Austin
Copyright Mark Horst Sawin, July, 1997
Your heritage is in a goodly land. Its fields are wide; its skies are bright; and its people free. Choose you out its men of mark-the great and good-as patterns for yourselves. Ask of their experience, if in its silent teachings you may not find reason-nay more-encouragement, to hope for a good name too-a place among them.
- Matthew Fontaine Maury from an address delivered before the University of Virginia, June 28, 1855.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
- Matthew 23: 27-28
John Kane and Family / Education, Illness and Medicine / Joining the Navy / Cushing Mission / Dislike of Military Life / Mexican American War / Disappointment and Scandal / Mission to Africa / Thomas Kane and Sibling Rivalry / Appeal to Washington / Off to Mexico / A Heroic Battle / Fleeting Fame and Routine Missions / Yearning for Adventure / Adventure at Last
The Search for Franklin / Arctic Incentives / Scientific Curiosity and Discovery / Arctic Traffic Jam / Snow's Book; Kane's Storytelling / Continuing the Search / Heading for Home / Achievements, or Lack Thereof
History of Margaret Fox / Spirit Rappings / Exhibiting the Spirits / Rapping in New York / Greeley's Interest / A National Phenomenon / The Meeting of Fox and Kane / Their Similar Lives and Missions / Hoax, Help and Fox's Dilemma / Differences and Justifications / Literature as Instruction / Proposals and Tests / Dual Desires of Public and Private / Press and Privacy / Rejection for Reputation / Abandoning the Spirits / Education for Aristocracy / Portraits and "Preacher" / A Loving Farewell
A Lover Waiting / Spirits and Raised Hands / Broken Reunion / Kane Family's Protest / Rise of Spiritualism / Engaged by the Press / A Public Denial / Pressed to an End / Question of Loyalties / Private Concerns Public / A Sudden Change
Funds for Freedom / Thankfully Forgotten / Writing Arctic Explorations / Scholarly vs. Sellable / George Childs / Illustrating the Arctic / James Hamilton / Maps & Tables; Blood & Breasts / Glowing Reviews
Success of Arctic Explorations / Tender Moments / Secret Marriage Vows? / The Will / Fox Disappears / Love-Letters and Litigation / The Love-Life of Doctor Kane / Fox-less "Dr. Kane" / Fox's Tragic Decline
Death of Dr. Kane / Funeral Procession / A Nation Mourns / Sensational Press Capitalizes / Elder's Biography of Kane / A Moral Teaching Tool / Kane Mythologized / Childhood Re-Told / Romantic Adventures Relived / Guiding the Nation's Youth