We Connect With Two Descendents Of The Historical Shipwreck Printed On Our PJs
In 1919, The Endurance, an explorer ship led by adventurer Ernest Shackleton, got stuck in an ice floe off the coast of Antarctica. The stranded ship and its 28-man crew floated for 497 days before the floe broke in half. When the ship began to sink, the crew rowed small lifeboats for five harrowing days in the open ocean to remote Elephant Island. Knowing they would never be rescued there, Shackleton chose five men to sail towards a whaling station on larger South Georgia island to get help. That 15-day, open ocean journey was through hurricane-force winds, one that had sunk a nearby 500-ton ship. When they landed safely, they trekked another 30 miles in ice and snow by foot with little equipment to help. In the end, all were rescued and the entire crew survived. The ship, however, was lost for 107 years.
The Magnetic Me Connection
April 2021, New York. We started working on designing our Winter 2022 collection. One of our artists presented an adorable, winter explorer print with arctic animals and little ships. We knew we had to have it. A depiction of one of the most famous shipwrecks in history, this print was educational, historically accurate, and most importantly, super cute. We named the collection Shackleton’s Endurance.
Fast forward almost one year later to March 2022—we were sitting at a trade show selling this very print to retailers when we heard the news that they found the actual ship 107 years after it sank. As history buffs, we couldn’t believe it. What were the chances? We made a mental note of it but didn’t think much of it past this fun coincidence.
The collection hit stores and then our website in September 2022 and the fun began. Much to our surprise, we received emails from not one, but two of the descendants of the Endurance crew. And wouldn't you know it? They're fans of our brand.
We were lucky enough to speak with Madeleine Ferguson (related to Thomas Crean, Second Officer and handler of the ship's 70 dogs) and Blair Peterson (related to Ernest Shackleton) to learn more about their courageous family members and this legendary story of adventure, perseverance, and heroism. Of particular note, Thomas Crean was one of the five crewmen selected by Ernest Shackleton for the dangerous rescue mission to South Georgia Island to save the rest of the crew.
The story of our print Shackleton's Endurance is an incredible one. How is your family tied to this historic expedition and what are the stories that have been passed down in your family?
Madeleine: I am related to Thomas Crean, on my maternal grandmother’s side. My son’s middle name is Crean! We grew up hearing the stories of Tom, his dogs, and the journey they took to find help for those who stayed with the Endurance.
Thomas Crean & his courageous pups
Blair: I am related to Shackleton’s brother George. Growing up with the last name Shackleton we quickly became familiar with the incredible story. We were told of Shackleton's bravery and commitment and his rescue of the entire crew when they were stuck in the Antarctic ice. One of my favorite stories is learning about the “wanted” ad Shackleton posted for his journey. The ad read, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in the event of success.” Despite the daunting ad, he had a full crew of men who wanted to join him on his expedition.
The timing of our collection and the discovery of the ship is completely coincidental. How did you find out that we created a print in honor of the voyage?
Madeleine: I have several Magnetic Me onesies and gowns for my son, and absolutely love them. I was on the website browsing patterns when I stumbled across the Shackleton pattern and immediately ordered it!
Blair: We were gifted Magnetic Me onesies at our baby shower for our little boy. I loved them so much, I went to the website to look for more and couldn’t believe I saw the Shackleton print!
Madeleine's son, Patrick | Blair & her son, Eric
What do you love most about our Shackleton's Endurance print?
Madeleine: Family connection aside, I love that it’s a unique print - how many onesies depict historical events?! It is definitely a conversation starter!
Blair: I love that this print commemorates such an incredible story that not many people have heard about. The perseverance of all of these men when they were faced with awful circumstances is inspiring. They're all heroes and their story deserves to be told.
Can you share with parents the Shackleton's Endurance story that you tell to your children and what lessons are passed on? We'd love for other parents who own this print to be able to keep this story alive.
Madeleine: The whole crew could have easily been lost at sea, but Shackleton’s determination to find help and then rescue those at the wreckage meant that the entire crew survived. The courage and selflessness of those men who risked their lives to get help and come back for those left behind is definitely something I will tell my son about!
Blair: I will tell my son that Shackleton's expedition is about a brave man and his team that wanted to explore uncharted territory and be the first to cross Antarctica. They faced unforeseen circumstances and were stuck in the ice. Instead of giving up, Shackleton and a small crew were able to take a lifeboat and get to land for help leaving the rest of his men behind. Almost 20 months after the ordeal started, Shackleton returned to rescue the rest of his crew. Not a single person died. The Shackleton family motto on the family crest is “fortitudine vincimus,” which means through endurance, we conquer. It so accurately reflects how Shackleton lived his life. If you never give up, it’s amazing what you can accomplish, even when the odds are stacked against you.