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Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 14: Aftermath: June 10, 1910: Franke sues Robert E. Peary

July 23, 2021

After the adverse findings of the commission appointed to examine Dr. Cook’s records at the University of Copenhagen in December 1909, and the superficial examination Peary’s records received by the National Geographic Society the previous month that resulted in a favorable verdict on his claim, Peary was generally acknowledged as the discoverer of the North [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 13: Aftermath: Spetember 1908; Franke reaches the United States

June 10, 2021

On August 18th Franke, still brooding over his dealings with Peary, watched the Roosevelt steam slowly north and vanish from sight among the ice of Smith Sound. Peary had forbidden him to take anything aboard the Erik besides his personal effects; he was not even allowed a pair of dogs he wanted to donate [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 12: August 17; Peary prepares to sail north

May 19, 2021

After a walrus hunt to provide the Inuit with meat lost by his taking some of the best hunters north with him, Peary prepared to sail. He put the Bos’n, John Murphy in charge of Cook’s box house at Annoatok, to live there and guard the supplies Cook had brought against pilfering by the [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 11: August 14-15: The Erik prepares to sail

April 21, 2021

As usual, Dr. Goodsell’s copious diary recorded the latest news on August 14, 1908:
“Rudolph Franke will return on the Erik. Franke is practically disabled. He slipped and injured his left leg some two or three months ago. His disability prevented him from properly caring for himself. He was unable to obtain [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition, Part 10: August 13, 1908: Rudolph Franke decides to go home

March 6, 2021

This following letter was addressed to Peary by Rudolph Franke. Franke later said that he wrote the letter under duress, that Peary made it the condition of his return that he turn over to him all of Dr. Cook’s stores at Annoatok, as well as the blue fox furs and narwhal horns he and [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition, Part 9: August 10, 1908: Rudolph Franke returns

February 8, 2021

On August 10, Dr. Goodsell wrote in his diary:
“The Captain, McMillen, Borup and boat crew have returned from Littleton Island. They secured four Walrus and nearly one hundred birds. The Captain reported from the summit of the island the pack ice to the northward was nearly continuous. He started out again to [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition, Part 8: Word of Dr. Cook gets out: August 7, 1908

January 6, 2021

Once Dr. Cook’s March 17 letter was retrieved from Annoatok, apparently, as Peary’s secretary, Marvin was asked to make a copy.  He couldn’t help himself from telling his friend what he learned of Cook’s movements.  A copy of Cook’s letter, with a number of transcription errors, is among Peary’s papers at NARA II.

8 – 7 [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition, Part 7: A Letter from Rudolph Franke

December 6, 2020

At Etah, Peary retrieved a letter sent north via a native by Rudolph Franke, who had been the cook on Bradley’s yacht, and whom Cook had paid to overwinter with him in a house he had built from packing crates at Annoatok. Franke had received a letter from Dr. Cook in May via [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition, Part 6: Waiting for the ice in Melville Bay, August 5, 1908

November 10, 2020

The Roosevelt was delayed at North Star Bay while waiting for the ice to loosen in Melville Bay before heading farther north. Melville Bay was notorious for hazardous ice jams, but beyond was generally clear in August. While he waited, Marvin added a few details about the expedition’s outfit. The “Huskies” referred to [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 5: The Roosevelt reaches the native settlements, August 3, 1908

October 18, 2020

8 – 3 1908
North Star Bay.1
Dear Mr Bement:-
It has been longer than I ex-
pected since I wrote last but you know how
busy we are among the settlements here. We are
all going walrus hunting early tomorrow
morning. It is now midnight and I ought to
be in bed but I wont get another chance to
write soon [...]