Frederick Albert Cook

Birth: 1865


Frederick Albert Cook (June 10, 1865 - August 5, 1940) American physician and explorer: b. Callicoon Depot, Sullivan County, N. Y., 10 June 1865. He was graduated at New York University 1890. He was surgeon of the Peary Arctic expedition 1891-92, and of the Belgium Antarctic expedition 1897-99.

He has received the decoration of the Order of Leopold, the gold medal of the Belgian Royal Society and the silver medal of the Belgian Royal Geographical Society. He claimed to have reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908. Upon his return in 1909 "from the Pole" - as he said - he was received with great honors at Copenhagen, Denmark, and then, hastening to New York, he at once began making large sums of money by his writings and lectures.

Doubts soon began to arise as to the veracity of his story - his companion on the journey he made in 1906 to Mount McKinley, Alaska, made an affidavit that no ascent of that mountain was made as described in Cook's narrative, and the Eskimos who were supposed to have been his companions on the dash to the Pole told the Peary party that they had spent the winter of 1907-08 at Jones Sound.

This was followed by the sworn statement of a man who had been hired to prepare for Cook a set of observations for latitudes and longitudes on his journey to the Pole, to send with his other data to the University of Copenhagen for examination. In the meantime Cook disappeared from view, and the learned scientists at Copenhagen decided that his proofs were not sufficient; but the sale of his book 'My Attainment of the Pole' (1909; 3d ed., 1913), was very large.

In 1913-14 he lectured in England. He has written articles for the leading magazines, describing life in the polar regions, and a valuable account of his Antarctic experiences and scientific observations, entitled 'Through the First Antarctic Night' (1900); 'To the Top of the Continent' (1906); 'North Pole and Bradley Land,' with E. S. Balch (1913).


The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)

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