Postal History Gallery of Related Events
Cook, Peary & the Race to the Pole
An Invitation to Dinner
ironically, the Arctic Club did not support Robert Peary in
either a logistical or financial manner. This letter is an
invitation to members to attend the club's annual dinner,
an event held every year from 1894 to 1913 (or so).
invitation is signed by Henry Biederbick, a survivor of Greely's
Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, 1881-1884.
Robert Peary was a Very
visits to the United States were full of invitations to meet
admirers. Peary was the great American hope to reach the big
prize ... the North Pole.
The Dash to the Pole
cards were carried on the 1908 voyage of the S.S. ROOSEVELT,
expedition ship during Peary's final dash to the pole. The
expedition wintered in Grants Land in 1908-09 and Peary left
from Cape Columbia on the first of March, 1909, with a mixed
team including six Eskimos, Matt Henson and Captain Bob Bartlett.
The party was reduced as supplies became short and on April
6, 1909, Peary made his claim to have reached the pole with
a party of four Eskimos and his assistant, Matt Henson. After
a stay of only thirty hours they returned to the ship.
cards were mailed at the first port of call, St. John's, Newfoundland,
to mark an event that has been clouded by controversy ever
Robert Peary and Dr. Frederick Cook both claimed to have reached
the North Pole by dog team in 1908 and the controversy continues
to this day. The public took sides, although the proof was not
easily understood or available. Post cards depicting Cook's expedition
ship BRADLEY appeared in the
mails for many years.
to the left is an official set of three cards from the expedition
on which Robert E. Peary attained the North Pole. The first
card was canceled on S.S. ROOSEVELT'S departure
from Brooklyn, 9 July 1908; the middle card is canceled upon
arrival at St. John's. Newfoundland, 20 July 1908; the last
card is canceled upon their return through St. John's, 17
(Courtesy of Herb & Janice Harvis)
(Except where noted,
exhibition pieces courtesy of George Hall)