Written on January 31, 2017
This is the fourth in a series examining significant unpublished documents associated with the Polar Controversy.
After his return from “exile,” in December 1910, Frederick Cook organized The Polar Publishing Company, headquartered in Chicago, to publish his forthcoming book about his conquest of the North Pole. Also in Chicago, he made his film The Truth About the North Pole, and set out with it to promote his campaign to reinstate himself as the true Discoverer of the North Pole.
At first he traveled the vaudeville circuit with his film, but by the middle of 1912 he more and more focused in on appearances on the Chautauqua circuit. Using this vehicle, he traveled the length and breadth of the country telling how his rightful glory had been stripped from him by Peary’s “Arctic Trust,” but in terms acceptable to Chautauqua managers, leaving out some of the insinuations he had previously included about Peary’s moral character.
By 1913, a cheaper, “Press Edition” of My Attainment of the Pole had been brought out by Mitchell Kennerley, and Cook sold it at cost at his lectures to help bolster belief in his claims of polar conquest. He even offered it to Chautauqua committeemen at less than cost, as a premium and added incentive for booking one of his lectures.
His manager, G. W. Baker, set out his terms:
Baker’s letter is among the Peary Family Collection at the National Archives II in College Park, Md.
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