Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PAVY, Octave Pierre, naturalist, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, 22 June, 1844; died at Cape Sabine, arctic regions, 6 June, 1884. He was graduated at the University of Paris, France, in 1866, studied medicine, and travelled extensively, making large collections in natural history. He became associated with Gustave Lambert in an arctic expedition projected by the French government in 1869, but it was prevented by the Franeo-Prussian war, and Pavy, who was in New Orleans, returned to France and organized and equipped at his own expense an independent body of infantry and cavalry, composed of veteran soldiers and sailors of French parentage, who had been residents of North or South America. The death of Lambert and the state of France in 1871 again frustrated his plans, and he sailed for the United States, and, with the co-operation of the American geographical society, began preparations for an expedition to the north pole by way of Bering strait and Wrangel land. On the eve of its departure, in 1872, the sudden death of a financial associate of Pavy's in San Francisco caused its abandonment. He then completed his medical course in St. Louis, and in 1880 accompanied the "Gulnare" to the arctic regions as surgeon and naturalist, and remained in Greenland a year, making collections for the Smithsonian institution. In 1881 the Greely expedition arrived in Greenland with a special commission for Dr. Pavy as acting assistant surgeon, and, being requested by Lieutenant Greely to act as naturalist to the expedition, he spent three years with the party at Lady Franklin bay. The northernmost point reached by him was beyond Cape Joseph Henry, in latitude 83. N. He made frequent sledge journeys to Lincoln bay and vicinity, and in 1883 discovered Pavy valley and Pavy river, between Cape Baird and Carl Ritterbay. The unprecedented health of the party during their three years of exposure, and the prolonging of their lives at Cape Sabine, after the perilous retreat of 1883, were due to Dr. Pavy. Sixteen days before the rescue of the survivors he died of starvation. His natural-history collections were left at Lady Franklin bay.
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