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Topics in Chronicling America - The Race to the North Pole

Competing claims of discovery of the North Pole by explorers Dr. Frederick Cook and Commander Robert E. Peary spark a fierce scientific debate that dotted the newspapers with controversy for years. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Map of the North Pole

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • September 2, 1909:  The New-York Tribune reports that Dr. Frederick Cook reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908.
  • September 7: 1909:  The New York Times reports that Commander Robert E. Peary, USN, reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909.
  • January 1911:  Peary appears in front of the Naval Affairs Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives in an effort to obtain official government recognition of his discovery of the North Pole.
  • March 1911:  With the Subcommittee having voted 4 to 3 in favor of honoring Peary, President Taft signs a bill that recognizes Peary's "Arctic exploration" but does not credit Peary with discovering the North Pole.

Suggested Search Terms:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Robert Peary, Frederick Cook, feud, controversy, dispute, North Pole, Arctic, Roosevelt, John R. Bradley, Oscar II.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  August 9, 2016
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