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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 [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 4: At Sea, July 30. 1908

September 13, 2020

Ross Marvin

7 – 30 1908
at sea off the Greenland Coast
bound for Cape York, N. Greenland
Dear Mr. Bement: -
Well here we are in the land
of the midnight sun once more and everything
is going lovely. We have had fog and rain
most of the time and a good deal rougher
voyage than last time, but the Roosevelt
seems able [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 3: A brief stop in Labrador, July 23, 1908

August 20, 2020

on board the Roosevelt,
off Turnavik, Labrador
July 23rd, 08.
Dear Mr Bement: -
Just a few lines
we we <sic> will land for a few minutes
at the fishing station of Captain
Bob’s father at Turnavik. He has
200 pair of skin boots here & so
we came up after them.
This note ought
to reach you at the same time
yesterdays letter did.*
I [...]


Inside the Peary Expedition: Part 2: The Expedition arrives at Sydney, July 14, 1908

July 6, 2020

Sydney was the last calling place of most ships headed into the Arctic. It’s chief attraction was the abundant coal that could be had from the mines at North Sydney, which ran far out under the harbor.  It was also the last place where a wide variety of food and supplies could be obtained. [...]


Inside the Peary Polar Expedition: Part 1: A parting interview, July 2, 1908

June 8, 2020

This post initiates a series on original documents related to Peary’s last attempt to reach the North Pole, The Peary Arctic Club North Pole Expedition of 1908. In the coming months, through this series the participants will be allowed to speak in real time through letters, diaries, and other documents about the events of [...]