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17 March 2023 A Consequential Editor: Pauline Ives (1931–2022)
Seth Sicroff, Alton C. Byers
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It is with deep sadness as well as abiding gratitude that we announce the passing of Pauline Ives on 16 September 2022. She was 91. As Assistant Editor of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) for almost 2 decades (1981–1999), she played an indispensable role in shaping this journal. She made a considerable contribution to the intersecting fields of mountain scholarship and mountain stewardship.

Pauline was born in Elland, Yorkshire, England, to Melvyn and Amy Cordingley. Growing up in Sheerness, Kent, and in Wales as a World War II evacuee, she developed a love of the outdoors as well as the skills that would serve her over a lifetime of adventure and exploration in some of the world's more rugged and isolated terrain.

At a time when women were considered too fragile to engage in scientific fieldwork in remote places, Pauline chose to study geography at Bedford College for Women, University of London. Her dream of doing research in the wilds of Iceland set her on a trajectory converging with that of another young geography student: Jack D. Ives. In the spring of 1952, Pauline attended the Second British Universities Undergraduate Geography Conference, hosted by Nottingham University. The guest of honor was Dr. Sigurður Þórarinsson, the eminent Icelandic glaciologist and geographer, whom Jack Ives had invited on behalf of the organizing committee. Ives was planning an expedition to Iceland that summer, and with that in mind he had carefully arranged to be seated next to Dr. Þórarinsson. To his dismay, Jack found that his intended seat had been preempted by the visiting Bedford student. The professor noticed his host's contretemps and called for a chair at his other side. Jack sat down. He later said, “At this point the young woman and I exchanged glances. The devastating eye contact left me almost speechless.”

Later that spring, as Jack's preparations for Iceland reached their fever pitch, Pauline invited Jack to attend her graduation ball in London, which would leave him a scant two days to catch his boat from Leith, in Scotland, to Reykjavik. The ball was brilliant. At 3 AM the couple bid their farewells at King's Cross station; Jack rushed home to Grimsby to return his Uncle George's suit and left immediately for Edinburgh, where he joined up with a teammate, and then on to Leith—just in time to catch the MS Gullfloss for Iceland. On 11 September 1954, Pauline and Jack were married in Sheerness, Kent; within two weeks they were on their way to Montreal, Canada, as “landed immigrants.”


Pauline Ives, an MRD mainstay for almost 2 decades. (Photo by Nadine Ives)


There followed exploits of high adventure and romance including joint research exploration in the Torngat Mountains and remote sections of Labrador-Ungava, Canada, entailing months of wilderness travel completely cut off from the outside world. Jack was appointed director of McGill University's Sub-Arctic Research Station at Schefferville. Pauline took a job as a gun-toting bank teller.

The Ives' first child, Nadine, was born at Schefferville. Later, Tony and Colin were born in Ottawa. Their fourth child, Peter, was born in Boulder, CO, USA, where Jack was appointed director of the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. In 1981, Jack and a few colleagues founded the International Mountain Society, which published MRD in collaboration with the United Nations University. From the outset, Pauline served as Assistant Editor, regularly providing assistance to the authors that went far beyond the usual stylistic enhancements and in general making sure that the quality of the journal was held to the highest standard. For 20 years, each impeccably edited and designed issue was distributed on time, making MRD the leading mountain journal in the world. Because of this project, in 1992 Jack was designated to represent the United Nations University at the Rio de Janeiro UN Earth Summit, where he helped insert Chapter 13 (“Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development”) into the Summit's global action plan, Agenda 21.

While MRD has been a platform for bringing mountain issues to the forefront at the highest levels of policymaking, its impact has been broad-based. Dr. Kumar Mainali, former editor and publisher of the Himalayan Journal of Sciences and now senior scientist at the Chesapeake Conservancy, stresses the journal's role in bottom-up capacity building:

For forty years, as the primary peer-reviewed journal in the new field of montology, MRD has provided academic and professional opportunities for scientists in developing countries. For their affiliated institutions, it has provided validation and linkages leading to international collaboration. For policymakers, it has provided evidence-based facts and awareness, displacing politically exploitive suppositions and theories and revealing the wisdom of those communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on our mountains. This legacy could not have been achieved without the sustained stewardship of its editors, which extended to its transfer to Bern. MRD has been a labor of love, a love that has endured beyond the 70-year romance of Pauline and Jack. It will continue to inspire our own devotion to the hills and mountains of our beautiful planet.

© 2023 Sicroff and Byers.

This open access article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( Please credit the authors and the full source.

Seth Sicroff and Alton C. Byers "A Consequential Editor: Pauline Ives (1931–2022)," Mountain Research and Development 43(1), V5-V6, (17 March 2023).
Published: 17 March 2023
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