from the Current Issue of
Canadians take a new look
did Peary's claim trump
that of Cook?
In the centennial year of
of both Cook
to the North
Pole, and in
In the April issue
Author Bruce Henderson
(‘True North: Cook, Peary and the Race to the
has a lead article in the April ‘Smithsonian Magazine’ which asks
“How did Peary’s claim trump Cook’s?
And in Canada’s
Canadians take a new look at Cook
How is it that Cook has been basically dropped out of our history books?
In the April issue of Smithsonian Magazine, editor, Carol Winfrey discusses the North Pole controversy under the heading “Poles Apart,” and quotes contributor Bruce Henderson:
“History isn’t always portrayed accurately,” says Bruce Henderson, author of True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole, from which he adapted “Cook vs. Peary”. “History books and encyclopedias have long said that Robert Peary discovered the North Pole, in 1909. Guess what? The claim of Frederick Cook to have gotten there a year before Peary is every bit as strong, and in some ways stronger, because Cook was the first to come out with original descriptions of the pole, before Peary would release his own descriptions.
“And this was at a time when people didn’t know if there was land up there or even a lost civilization. Cook described the pole in a way that was verified by all the people who came after him. That’s an amazing thing. So just because it’s reported to be history doesn’t make it right.” For his book on the pair, Henderson spent nearly two years doing research at the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reading the explorers’ letters and journals as well as a host of related documents.
“There’s going to be a lot of stories about the centennial of the discovery of the North Pole by Robert Peary. I’d love for readers to know, wait a minute, maybe another guy got there first. Maybe this is actually the 101st anniversary of the discovery. How is it that the forces around Peary completely overwhelmed Dr. Cook? How is it that Cook has basically dropped out of our history books?”
Historian:‘One of the worst injustices in Arctic exploration’
Ken McGoogan, a leading Canadian Arctic historian, came in forcefully as an advocate of Frederick Cook in theApril number of UP
HERE, a quarterly journal published in Yellowknife. McGoogan is the author of
“The Arctic Discovery Quartet: Fatal Passage, Ancient Mariner, Lady Franklin’s Revenge,
and Race to the Polar
A recipient of the Pierre Berton Award for History and the UBC Medal for Canadian biography, among other prizes, is a world traveler who sails in the Arctic as a resource historian with Adventure Canada. He is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and vice-chairman of the Public Lending Right Commission. His conclusion:
“One hundred years ago this month one of the worst injustices in Arctic exploration history began unfolding on the northwest coast of Greenland. On April 18, 1909 an American doctor and two Inuit hunters struggled to the top of an icy ridge and looked out over a familiar scattering of igloos. Below, less than a mile away, lay the settlement of Anoatok, which they had left 14 months previously. Exhausted from an unprecedented ordeal, the three rose to their feet and waved, then huddled together and waited while old friends hitched up dog teams and drove out to collect them.
THE FULL ACCOUNT
Barbara Hillary lectures at museum
Barbara Hillary, 77, has several distinctions. She is one of the oldest people to reach the North Pole and is without a doubt the first black woman to stand at the geographical top of the earth. Barbara will deliver a lecture on April 25 at the Sullivan County Museum at a meeting sponsored by the Frederick A. Cook Society.
When Barbara Hillary heard that there had never been a black woman at the North Pole, she took that as a challenge. So in April 2007, she set off on skis with two guides and became the first -despite the fact that she was a 75- year-old cancer survivor who had never learned to ski before, preparing for this trip.
The bone- numbing trek to the North Pole is rife with perils that would make a seasoned explorer quake: frostbite threatens, polar bears loom, and the ice is constantly shifting beneath frozen feet. But Barbara Hillary took it all in stride, completing the trip at the age of 75. She is one of the oldest people to reach the North Pole, and is believed to be the first black woman on record to accomplish the feat.
Hillary, of Averne, N.Y., grew up in Harlem and devoted herself to a nursing career and community activism. At 67 and during retirement, she battled lung cancer. Five years later, she went dog sledding in Quebec and photographed polar bears in Manitoba. “What’s wrong with this picture?” she said. “So I sort of rolled into this, shall we say.” Barbara was a guest at the Society’s Centennial Conference at the Yale Club in April 2008 and made remarks on that occasion.
Window Murals highlight explorer
On April 25, two murals highlighting the career of Frederick A. Cook will be dedicated at the Sullivan County Historical Museum, created by local artists Laurie Kilgore and Tobi Magnetico. The mural project, occupying former window openings in a section of the Museum, is an interpretation of Sullivan County history.
The Cook representation will include images of Cook as an explorer in the field, his arrival following the North Pole Discovery and his childhood making hickory sleds from which he designed sleds that were used in both Antarctica and the high Arctic to the Pole.
Hurleyville First is sponsoring the murals, and the Society is a contributor to the Cook representations. The formal dedication will take place at the Bicentennial meeting co-sponsored by the Frederick A. Cook Society.