September 7, 2009

Tuesday, 7 September 1909


Robert Peary aboard the Roosevelt, ca.1909 [1]

The newspapers continued to astonish: "Peary: Has he also planted the Stars and Stripes on the North Pole?" [2]

Robert Peary claimed to have reached the Pole on 6th April, 1909, a year after Cook, who cabled cheerfully to the New York Herald, "Two records are better than one." [3]

Peary, an American Navy engineer who had in the course of his career as an Arctic explorer pioneered the use of Inuit survival techniques such as igloo-building and fur clothing, had departed New York on 6th July 1908 to winter on Ellesmere Island in northern Canada, and set off for the Pole in late February of 1909. His announcement that he, with Matthew Henson and four Inuit companions, had reached the Pole, was somewhat anticlimactic in light of Cook's own announcement.


[1] Library of Congress.
[2] Aftenposten (Christiania), 7 September 1909, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.215.
[3] New York Herald, 7 September 1909, quoted by Bruce Henderson in True North : Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole (New York : Norton, c2005), p.243.

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