Born William Linn Ellsworth in Chicago, son of James W. Ellsworth. He changed his name to Lincoln early in life. Received M.S. from Yale and LL.D. from Kenyon College. Married Mary Louise Ulmer May 23, 1933. He was an engineer, big game hunter and prospector. He took flight training with the Army during the first World War but was rejected for duty.
In 1925 he joined the Amundsen-Ellsworth Polar Flying Expedition financed in part with $85,000 from his father. They were attempting to cross the North Pole. Both planes of the expedition crash landed on the ice and were missing for 25 days. His father died during the time he was missing. He was able to finance future adventures from his inheritance. He served as co-leader of the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Noble Transpolar flight of 1926.
Congress honored Ellsworth with a gold medal by act of May 29, 1928. It was executed by John Ray Sinnock. The medal was presented by President Hoover in 1931. He received many other awards.
He crossed Antarctica by plane in 1935. With this he became the first man to cross both poles. (Byrd had been the first to fly to each pole, more or less out and back. Ellsworth crossed the continents side to side.) He wrote several books about his adventures. In World War II he was commissioned lieutenant commander in the Naval reserve. He died in Boston.
bio: DAB; EAB; NCAB 39 (photo); WAB; WWWA-3Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies