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Dennis Schenborn collection on Antarctica

Identifier: DPUA0015

Scope and Contents

The Dennis Schenborn Collection on Antarctica contains correspondence, graphs, journal entries, and reports documenting several of Mary Alice McWhinnie's research trips to Antarctica in the 1970s. The collection also includes photographs, slides, and photographic negatives from Eltanin and both McMurdo and Palmer Stations. The bulk of the materials relate to 1974's Operation Deep Freeze at McMurdo Station.


  • 1965-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1974


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Dennis Schenborn is a DePaul University alumnus who received his B.S. in Biology in 1974. As an undergraduate, his interest in marine biology led him to Professor Mary Alice McWhinnie, a well-known authority on a type of crustacean called krill. Dr. McWhinnie had taken research trips to Antarctica to study krill since 1962. Impressed by Schenborn, she became his major professor, academic advisor, and research mentor, and invited him to accompany her to Antarctica.

McWhinnie initially asked Schenborn to join a 1972 trip aboard the research vessel Eltanin, but this trip was canceled due to budget cuts. In 1974, McWhinnie and her colleague Sister Mary Odille Cahoon were selected as the first two women to "winter over" in Antarctica. For this trip, known as Operation Deep Freeze, McWhinnie selected Schenborn and DePaul alumnus Steve Grabacki (B.S. Biology, 1973) to serve as research assistants. The group settled at McMurdo Station on the eastern side of the continent. Schenborn and Grabacki drilled holes in the Antarctic ice to collect specimens, which McWhinnie and her team used to study the process of protein digestion in krill during the sunless winter. These studies complemented earlier summer projects McWhinnie had conducted onboard research ships.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 1 oversized box)

Language of Materials



The Dennis Schenborn Collection on Antarctica is divided into two series: 1. Correspondence, Photographs, and Research Materials; 2. Addition of 2014.

Original order has been maintained throughout the collection; see series level arrangement notes for additional details.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2012.98; 2014.008. The collection is comprised of two separate gifts of materials from Dennis Schenborn. Charlene Denys obtained the majority of the Correspondence, Photographs, and Research Materials series from Mary Alice McWhinnie's office at DePaul following McWhinnie's death on March 17, 1980. Dennis Schenborn acquired the collection in 2010 and added some of his own materials to McWhinnie's documents, including materials given to him by fellow researchers who traveled with the team to Antarctica.

Related Materials

Mary Alice McWhinnie Faculty papers; Emma "Dolly" Dieter papers

Processing Information

H. Lanctot 2012; J. Connelly 2014

Guide to Dennis Schenborn Collection on Antarctica
J. Connelly
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614