"One hundred years ago one of the worst injustices in Arctic exploration began unfolding on the northwest coast of Greenland...(Cook) had made an incredible journey across Elsemere to Axel Heiberg Island and then through Jones Sound...(it) has no parallel in polar annals...a masterpiece of Arctic survival."

Ken McGoogan, 
Pierre Berton Award recipient and medalist of the University of British Columbia for history. Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and author of the "Arctic Discovery Quartet."

"Frederick Cook remains as one of the most perceptive as well as the most vilified of polar explorers...Cook had made a discovery that no amount of humiliation could take from him and one that only the most fortunate and observant of arctic explorers ever learned."

Robert McGhee, 
"The Last Imaginary Place:  A Human History of the Arctic World"
Oxford University Press, 2005

Dr. McGhee is curator of Arctic Archeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Massey Medalist of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society

"If some insist that history must be served, let them remember that the more we come to understand the physical geography of the Arctic Ocean, the more we recognize the phenomena described by Cook but unknown at the time of his journey."

Dr. Walter A. Wood, President of the American Geographical Society (1963)

"There is no ground to question the validity of Dr. Cook's assertion that he reached the North Pole."

Dr. V.S. Koryakin
Polar historian of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1993)

Who Was Frederick A. Cook?

A pioneer American Polar explorer, Dr. Cook spent two decades in expeditions to both Polar regions and subarctic Alaska between 1891 and 1909.  Many authorities acknowledge him as the discoverer of the geographical North Pole in 1908.  He was the first American to spend forced winters in both the Antarctic and the Arctic and is credited with saving the "Belgica" expedition to the South Polar regions in 1897-99.

In 1906 his first reported ascent of Alaska's Mt. McKinley (which he was the first to circumnavigate in 1903) was accepted until a bitter controversy arose in late 1908 about Cook's claim to having reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. Cook was knighted by the King of the Belgians, honored by geographical societies and authored five books about his experiences. 

Cook received a Presidential pardon for a federal conviction in 1923 involving Texas oil properties, which resulted in immense wealth for those who purchased them as sheriff's sale while Cook was in prison. Cook was born in Hortonville, NY in 1865 and died in New Rochelle, NY in 1940. State historical markers are at his birthplace and near his remains in Forest Lawn, Buffalo, NY.



June 2009:  What's New on the Web Site?

 

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Frederick A. Cook Society