Saturday, March 28, 2015

Frederick Cook

Welcome to Explorer's Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at larger than life figures in the world of exploration, and will be looking at the pioneers. Today we feature a picture of Frederick Cook taken in 1911 in the arctic. The issue of who in fact was the first to reach the north pole remains a controversial topic to this day. Many now doubt the claims made by Cook to have reached the pole. I will not try to unravel the tangled mess of which explorer actually reached the pole, but will instead admire the courage of these men to undertake the expeditions they did. 

1 comment:

  1. After looking at pictures of TR the hunter posed in an obvious studio, this one looks suspiciously like a studio picture as well. Notice the straight horizontal line behind second person. Everything behind there could be a painted backdrop touching the floor. I'm not saying this IS a studio portrait rather than taken in the real Arctic, just that it seems possible. But those outfits certainly look authentic; I've seen their like in museums. Everything is made the way the Inuit would would make them, of seal skin and bear fur. The smaller man in the back, probably an Inuit like Cook's two companions, judging by his smaller size, wears a parka with longer tails front and back. His entire outfit seems made of seal skin, or perhaps fur turned inside out. Cook's is made entirely of bear fur, fuzzy side out. It uses polar bear fur for the pants and mitts, and black bear for the parka. Both wear boots of what looks to be sealskin. Even if this were a publicity picture to raise money for the expedition, it's a fascinating picture, nicely posed, and makes me want to know more. If it really was taken in the Arctic, Cook's Arctic expedition was in 1909, and his claim to have reached the North Pole, along with two Inuits, was almost immediately greeted with skepticism. He was unable to turn over his documentation, as he claimed he'd left it with others on his way out; it had been cached, and could never be found. Given his apparently fraudulence claim to be the first to climb Denali in 1906, Cook's claim to have beaten Perry to the North Pole was discredited. Perhapsone good outcome of this controversy was that explorers who soon went to the South Pole were careful to leave behind proof of their passing. In Cook's defense, he was on shifting ice, not a solid continent. Was Cook back in the Arctic again in 1911? The Wikipedia article doesn't mention it. Looking forward to the rest of Explorer's Week!


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