Peary, Robert Edwin

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Peary, Robert Edwin

Robert Edwin Peary (pēr´ē), 1856–1920, American arctic explorer, b. Cresson, Pa. In 1881 he entered the U.S. navy as a civil engineer and for several years served in Nicaragua, where he was engaged in making surveys for the Nicaragua Canal. He became interested in arctic exploration and made a trip to the interior of Greenland in 1886; later (1891–92), having secured a leave of absence from the navy, he led an expedition to Greenland for scientific study and exploration. Important ethnological and meteorological observations were recorded, a long sled journey to the northeast coast of Greenland was made, Peary Land was explored, and the insularity and approximate northerly extension of Greenland were confirmed.

New expeditions continued the work in 1893–95, and in two summer voyages (1896, 1897) Peary brought back to the United States his noted meteorites. An account of his arctic experiences appeared in Northward over the Great Ice (1898). Granted another leave of absence from naval duty, he again led an expedition (1898–1902), this time to search for the North Pole. He was only able to reach lat. 84°17′N, but he made important surveys of Ellesmere Land and a study of the surface and drift of the polar ice pack. His Nearest the Pole (1907) recorded the events of his 1905–6 expedition, when he attained lat. 87°6′N, which was only c.174 mi (280 km) from his objective.

In 1908, Peary set out on his last quest for the North Pole. From Ellesmere Island, accompanied by Matthew Henson and four Eskimos, he made a final dash for the pole, which he claimed to have reached on Apr. 6, 1909. He announced that he had achieved his goal, but on his return he learned of the prior claim of Dr. Frederick A. Cook, who had been ship's surgeon on Peary's expedition of 1891–92. An extremely bitter controversy followed, with Peary accusing Cook of fraud. Although Cook fought to the end of his life, not without some support, to substantiate his claim, Congress recognized Peary's achievement and offered him its thanks in 1911, the year in which he retired from the navy with the rank of rear admiral. Nevertheless, it remains questionable as to whether Peary reached the exact location of the North Pole, and many polar experts now do not believe either he or Cook did.

Peary's wife, Josephine Diebitsch Peary, 1863–1955, accompanied him on several of his expeditions and gave birth in the arctic to Peary's daughter, Marie Ahnighito Peary. His wife published her experiences in My Arctic Journal (1893).

See his North Pole (1910) and Secrets of Polar Travel (1917); biographies by W. H. Hobbs (1936) and J. E. Weems (1967); D. B. MacMillan, How Peary Reached the Pole (1934); W. R. Hunt, To Stand at the Pole (1982); M. A. Henson, A Black Explorer at the North Pole (1991); R. M. Bryce Cook and Peary: The Polar Controversy Resolved (1997); F. L. Israel, ed., Robert E. Peary and the Rush to the North Pole (1999).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Peary, Robert Edwin
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.