September 3, 2009

Friday, 3 September 1909


Amundsen in a studio portrait by Anders Beer Wiltse, 1909. [1]

When interviewed in Christiania about his old friend's stunning announcement, Amundsen said, "'Dr. Cook was my partner on the Belgica expedition as physician ... and all on board appreciated highly his experience and his ability. His was an uncommonly stanch [sic], persevering, and energetic personality, and I admire him.'"

"'The possible results from Dr. Cook's achievement will have no influence on my projected expedition. I am not planning to reach the point of the pole. My trip will be for oceanographic exploration.'"

"Capt. Amundsen characterized Cook's dash to the pole as 'the most brilliant sledge trip in the history of polar exploration'." [2]

London newspapers, the New York Times reported, "are not wholly convinced by the narrative, and persist that it will be necessary to await more details and reports. They are unable to conceive how a task which has beaten the ablest polar explorers provided with everything that money could purchase could have been achieved in such a seemingly off-hand and unpremeditated manner and with such ease and quickness." [3]


[1] Galleri NOR, Norsk Folkemuseum, Nasjonalbiblioteket.
[2] "Former Companion Lauds Cook", New York Times, 3 September 1909.
[3] "London Papers Praise Cook", New York Times, 3 September 1909.

1 comment:

  1. Roland Huntford gives a rather different version of the first quote, even allowing for nuances of translation: "What did he [Amundsen] think of the man? [']Cook has made thorough studies in connection with Polar exploration. But he is first and foremost a sportsman, a pot hunter, and his main goal has been to reach the North Pole.['] Did he believe the news? (To this, polite evasion.) Would it have any effect on his own plans? To this, the answer was an unequivocal 'Absolutely not'" (p.215, citing the Aftenposten (Christiania) morning edition, 2 September 1909).