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October 19, 1909


Explorer Writes Kansas Cityans
He'll Settle Controversy First.

Commander Robert E. Peary will not lecture in Kansas City until the controversy with Dr. Cook is settled. Ten or twelve days ago Frank M. Robinson, secretary of the Irish-American Athletic club, wrote to Commander Peary, asking him if it would be possible for him to lecture in Kansas City in the near future.

In reply Peary sent the following letter:

"Replying to your kind favor of October 6, I beg to say that I am making no engagements for lectures until the present controversy is determined. Later on it is entirely possible that I may deliver a few lectures if suitable arrangements can be made. If it will not trespass too much on your time, I shall be glad to receive from you the detailed information which you note in your letter. I shall also be glad to learn if your organization is the one which handled Dr. Cook's lecture in your city."

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October 8, 1909



Tale of Dash to Pole, Experiences
There and Struggle Back to
Civilization Received
With Applause.

An audience numbering about 7,000 people in Convention hall last night cheered for a minute a stereopticon picture of a tiny dome of snow from which floated the Stars and Stripes.

That picture represented the successful conquest of the polar mystery, and the 7,000 people had gathered to see Dr. Frederick A. Cook, the conqueror, and hear him tell of his victory. The story was one of enthralling interest, told in anything but a heroic manner, yet told convincingly, straightforwardly, simply, without dramatic climaxes or rhetorical graces.

It is doubtful if there was an individual in the big audience who doubted for a moment Dr. Cook was telling anything but the literal truth. Certainly it was not a Peary audience, for when the doctor mentioned the name of his rival in connection with the other explorers who had preceded him into the Arctic wilds, there was not the faintest ripple of applause.


Dr. Cook's lecture was one of the most interesting features of the week of fall festivities. The doctor cannot be called an orator in the superficial sense. He labored under several handicaps last night, not the least of which was a heavy cold which rendered his voice conspicuously hoarse and which drove him frequently to the ice water.

When Dr. Cook made his first appearance upon the platform he was heartily applauded, and when he arose to begin his lecture, after a brief laudatory introduction by Mayor Crittenden, he received a distinct ovation.

Without prelude he plunged into his lecture, which was delivered in a conversational tone throughout. It was repeatedly punctuated with applause as he narrated some incident more than usually dramatic in its nature or illustrative of the tremendous obstacles overcome.

There was, of course, a special round of applause when he referred to the fact that the pemmican which furnished food for the northward trip was put up by the Armours, and that in all probability some of it came from Kansas City.


The lecture was copiously illustrated with stereopticon views from photographs taken by Dr. Cook himself. Throughout the lecture the orator's characteristic modesty was almost obtrusive, if the paradox may be thus stated. Very rarely was the personal pronoun used and the speaker paid a specially generous tribute to the Eskimos who proved indispensable to the success of the undertaking.

He warmly commended the two young men who went to the pole with him and in the culminating picture showing the flag planted at the pole the only living figures were those of these two Eskimos. Of course Dr. Cook himself could not have been in his own pictures, but it is doubtful if Commander Peary gave his sole companion even this share of the honor. At any rate Cook did.

The only mention of Peary was the one reference to him in the list of polar explorers. No allusion was made to the experiences at the hands of Peary's representative at Etah on Dr. Cook's return and nothing whatever was said as to the controversy between Cook and Peary. Throughout, the lecture was plain narrative of facts, the veracity of which the speaker did not appear to think would be doubted.

Dr. Cook's voice did not carry to all parts of the hall, but few people left before the lecture closed with Dr. Cook's promise to send a ship to Etah and bring back to this country the two companions on the great polar dash. Early in the course of the lecture a song dedicated to Dr. Cook by a local singer.

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October 8, 1909



Explorer Begins Busy Day With
Coffee and Bananas -- Good Water
and Shave Greatest Pleasures
of Civilization.

"Doctor Cook?"

The short but compactly set-up man who was first to stand at the apex of the world, looked up from an improvised desk in a Hotel Baltimore room yesterday afternoon. He was deep in a consultation with his business manager over lecture dates.

"Yes, sir," responded the explorer quickly, his stock smile settling steadily over his face.

"My name is Terry," said the caller, with more assurance, as he reached for the famous doctor's hand. "C. A. Terry -- guess you don't remember me just this minute. It has been thirty two years since I saw you back in old York state.

"I'm a cousin of yours, and if you remember the last time I saw you, you will recall vividly that time your mother spanked both of us for some devilment we got into while playing in the back yard."

"Sure, I remember you," said the doctor readily. "What town was that in, anyway?"


But before Mr. Terry could reply, Dr. Cook had taken him by the arm and together they walked into an adjoining room to talk over that boyhood incident.

"Tell those Oklahoma City people," called the doctor to his manager, decisively disposing of a business matter quickly, "that Tuesday night is the only date open in that time they mention."

Mr. Terry, who gives Kansas City the distinction of having among its residents a relative of the famous explorer, was formerly manager of the Hotel Benton at Excelsior Springs, Mo., but has more recently been in charge of the Centropolis hotel here.

"After you got back to civilization doctor, what pleased you the most?" was asked of Cook.

Again that calm smile, as he replied:

"Well, outside of getting a real good drink of water, I think that the thing which pleased me most was a chance to sit in a barber's chair and get a good shave. A beard may be all right when you can take a few minutes, walk any time you want to and get to a barber shop to have it cut off. But it is mighty annoying to possess a beard when you know it won't come off."


"When you think of the North, of what do you think first? That is, what feature of that region or its elements first comes to your mind?" was asked.

A process of continuous questioning was necessary. The procession of answers came as far apart as the clicks of a slowly told rosary.

"The cracking of ice," was his answer, almost laconic. It took another question to get more.

"But the cracking and booming of ice seems to be about the least important thing among your adventures and in your work in the North?" was half queried to draw out something more.

"Yes," he said, "it is about the least important, but nevertheless I always think of the cannonading of the big ice hills first when I think of that endless field of ice."

He was smiling steadily during his answer.


Dr. Cook does not swear. He does not use liquor or tobacco in any form. seeking to get a little more of human interest, his questioner asked:

"Have you any pet name for your wife?"

"I refuse to answer that question," he replied, smiling broadly and more generously than before.

"What are your religious views?" was asked.

"That is none of your business," he retorted, but without any show of offense, and still the same old smile.

"Why did you go for the North Pole instead of the South Pole?" was the next question.

"The idea in polar research," he answered, "has generally been to get to the 90th degree of latitude, either north or south, but since weather conditions were generally better in the north, men usually sought to find that pole."

Questions in regard to Peary did not elicit much response. Dr. Cook said he did not care whether Peary had been to the Pole or not.

"Scientists cannot be fooled by polar observations," he said. "When the figures are all published there will be little discussion."


Referring again to the disputatious critics, he declared that he had climbed Mount McKinley in Alaska, and the fact was never disputed until the polar controversy came up.

Dr. Cook is 44 years old -- a German. His name was originally Koch, but he Americanized it for the sake of the easier pronunciation. The meaning is identical. He wears a stubby brown mustache, is compactly set up, very quiet, modest and reserved. He weighs 155 pounds, two pounds less than when he landed in Copenhagen early in September. The doctor is very genial and upbeat, but it is hard to get past the reserve which he has set up about himself to keep out of further pole quarreling.

He likes coffee and bananas for his breakfast and makes that short and odd ration a popular choice. His luncheons are heavy, but he partakes of very little food before a lecture. After talking he eats plentifully and of anything he cares for. Before his lecture he had two eggs and a cup of coffee.

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October 7, 1909


En Route from St. Louis for Lecture
at Convention Hall.
Dr. Frederick A. Cook.
MONTGOMERY, MO., Oct. 7. -- Dr. Frederick A. Cook, now on the Wabash train on his way to Kansas City, sends this message: "Say to the people of Kansas City that I appreciate their attitude and fair treatment of the polar problem."

Kansas City will be told all about the North Pole tonight in Convention hall by Dr. Frederick A. Cook, the first man to reach the top of the earth. Dr. Cook will arrive at 7:30 o'clock this morning in a private car over the Wabash. He comes from St. Louis, where he lectured last night.

The Kansas City welcome will consist of automobile rides and banquets. He will be met at the Baltimore hotel this morning by city officials and their wives. They will all shake hands and get acquainted. Dr. Cook is accompanied by his wife and two daughters. The women in the party have been detailed to show them a good time. The officials will devote their time to the hero.

The Cooks will be taken for an automobile ride. The course will follow the boulevard system through the city, and the visitors will be shown the city parks. The ride will end at the Country Club.

Here the women in the party will be left behind. Mrs. Cook and her daughters will be entertained by committees of Kansas City women. The directors and their guests will be driven to the Evanston Club. Here the men will get better acquainted with their noted guest.

While in St. Louis more than 10,000 persons packed the Coliseum as Dr. Cook narrated the horrors and tortures of his dash to the North Pole to his breathless audience.

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October 2, 1909


Sale Opens at Convention Hall
This Morning.

Every person who would hear Dr. Frederick Cook tell how the North Pole was discovered should go to Convention hall early this morning, as the sale of seats for the explorer's lecture will begin there at 9 o'clock at the Convention hall box office.

It is expected that the seats will be in great demand, so that it behooves all who are desirous of attending this lecture to get their seats as early as possible. The prices for the seats are most reasonable; the best seats in the house, outside of boxes, can be had for $1 each.

Seats for the mask ball and the first performance of "Pinafore" can be had at the Chicago & Alton Junction ticket office.

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September 22, 1909


Partisanship Must Be Shown, How-
ever, in Selection of Playthings.

It is here. The Cook and Peary controversy, with the ingenuity of American toymakers in mind, could not end otherwise than in a toy.

No matter how bitterly the controversy may rage in scientific quarters or how the peace of households be threatened, children will be left to themselves to enjoy the new toy, though, though they will have to be partisans to the extent of choosing between the two explorers who claim they have been first in finding the "big nail."

A Philadelphia toy seller landed here yesterday with samples of the new toy. It follows the old Teddy Bear in some respects, though a white coat on the bear figure has replaced the brown teddy, showing that it is a genuine polar bear.

The old monkey-on-a-stick device is used. You pull a string and the polar bear climbs to the top. A United States flag slides out of the center of the stick. If you are a Cookite, a slim pennant with that explorer's name will float out to the breeze. If you are a Pearyite, out comes his name on the pennant. It's merely a question of whether you bought a Cook or a Peary polar bear.

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September 20, 1909


Lieut. Landis Finds It's Difficult to
Believe Some Peary Stories.

"The marvelous has bloomed out continually in the tales of the travels of Dr. Cook and Commander Peary to the North Pole and back again, but I do not doubt that over-zealous press correspondents have wrought greater wonders on the true statements of the explorers," said Lieut. I. F. Landis, who is in charge of the local naval recruiting station.

"To my mind the most irregular story which has come floating down from the land of snow and ice is that of Peary making a mistake in planting his flag the first night, and correcting it fifty feet twenty-four hours later.

"The facts are that the location of the pole was up to the sextant, a little mechanism as well known to seamen as the compass is to landsmen. Because the sextant reckons latitude on the horizon, the sky line is never the same in two localities, it is more or less an inaccurate machine, and old navigators say it is never accurate to the half mile mark. With conditions as unfavorable as they must be in the vicinity of the poles, it is doubtful if the best regulated and equipped sextant could do more than locate the top o' the world within a radius of six miles."

According to naval rating Peary is a lieutenant on special service, ranking third among the civil engineers of the navy. In the Navy and Marine Corps List and Directory he is mentioned in the alphabetical list as follows:

"Peary, Robt. E., civil engineer. On duty under Coast and Geodetic Survey, making tidal observations on the coast of Grant Land and Greenland."

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September 13, 1909



United States in Possession by Right
of Discovery, Declares Mer-
rimac Hero -- Believes Both
Cook and Peary.

"There is nothing to the talk that England and the United States might become involved in a quarrel over the ownership of the North Pole. The American flag has been nailed there twice and it belongs to the United States by right of discovery. there can be no possible chance for England or any other country to claim it.

This is the opinion of Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson, hero of the Merrimac, and at present a member of congress from Alabama. Captain Hobson is at the Hotel Baltimore.

"I believe both Cook and Peary discovered the North Pole," replied Captain Hobson in answer to a question. "Peary was a colleague and naturally would have liked to have heard that he was the first to reach the goal. Credit and the highest honors are due both men for their accomplishment. I am sorry to read of the petty bickerings which are now being reported in the press as they tend to lower the esteem in which both explorers should be held by the citizens of this country. It will tend in a measure to belittle their efforts.

"In the near future I expect to see some brave and enterprising American citizen embark in an airship or similar machine and sail to the South Pole, taking possession in the name of the United States. Then will this old world of ours revolve between two possessions of the United States, which will be appropriate, for this country is recognized by all civilized powers, as the most enterprising.

Captain Hobson arrived yesterday morning. He was met by Congressman W. P. Borland and taken in an automobile to Independence, Mo. In the afternoon the return trip was made.

"I was most agreeably surprised at the extent and the beauty of your boulevards," remarked Captain Hobson. "I do not know of a city anywhere that can compare with them."

Captain Hobson will remain in the city until Tuesday.

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September 7, 1909


Hotel Clerk Remarks on Weather
Changes When Discoveries Made.

"A few more discoveries of North Poles and we will all have to move South," remarked Clerk James Redmond at the Hotel Baltimore last night. "Thee day we got the news that Dr. Cook had discovered the Pole the mercury dropped some 20 degrees. The news that Peary had discovered it, or another one, resulted in a second drop in the temperature which was followed by rain. I guess the next one will give us snow and ice."

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