Explorers Club Archives II

Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, EC2007-07 [Not all of these files have been carefully reviewed and some await further inspection.]

Box 1, file 24: TLS from H. Bridgman to Melvil Dewey, January 13, 1908:

Dear Dr. Dewey:
Action on your suggestion of the 7 inst., has been a little delayed, that I might secure Peary’s definite approval, but to-day I send, by express, prepaid, the Fort Conger buffalo overcoats for disposal on the terms stated by you. Each purchaser can obtain, I am sure, a certificate with Peary’s signature that the coat is one recovered by him at Fort Conger in 1889 [sic?], from the outfit in 1881 of the Lady Franklin Bay party. I have not had an opportunity, personally, to examine the goods, but I m inclined to leave the working out of details of the matter to your good judgment and good offices, which I can assure you will be cordially appreciated by the Peary Arctic Club. Yours very truly,

Secretary, Peary Arctic Club
Melvil Dewey. Esq.,
Lake Placid Club,
Lake Placid, N. Y.

Box 2, File 3, “Letters Sent” by Greely, copies of letters mostly to Signal Office recording his actions.

p. 25 July 28, Greely to Heer Dincker?, Governor at Christianbad: It would give me great pleasure if you would advise me through Herr Inspector Smith, as to the books on ornithology or other subjects of interest which I could have forwarded to 1883.

p. 2 [re Aug. 1899]: The “Windward” preceding the “Diana” one week in her departure from Etah arrived at Brigus, N. F., two days earlier, having on board the scientific records and personal effects of each officer and man of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition; the sextant abandoned in 1876 by Lieutenant, now Rear-Admiral, Albert Beaumont, R. N., at Cape Brittania, Greenland, and copies of the Nares-Markham records from the cairns of Norman Lockyer and Washington Irving Island, all recovered by Commander Peary in 1898 and 1899. The personal effects were subsequently distributed by the club to the survivors and the next of kin of the deceased, and the relics of the Royal Navy, deposited through the Lords of the Admiralty in the Royal Naval Museum at Greenwich.

p. 3, [re Sept. 1902]: New boilers and engines having been installed in the “Windward” she sailed a third time for the North from Sydney, C.B., July 20, with Mrs. Peary and Miss Peary on board, effected junction with Commander Peary August 5 at Cape Sabine, and after a stay of less than a day, bringing him with his party, and the record of 83.17 North of the highest on the Western Continent – May 1901, with his party, library, instruments, and all the remaining equipment of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition to Sydney, C. B., Sept. 5.

p. 4, notes that one object of the club was “collecting receiving and preserving narratives and manuscripts, relating to Arctic explorations in general….”

Box 3, file 79: collection of Club correspondence, 1897-99, mainly Peary describing his solicitation of funds from wealthy men, an interesting example of late 19-century development work.

Box 3, file 80: TLs to H. Bridgman from McClure’s Magazine re 4 articles re the North in Harper’s Weekly, McClures, or Harpers Magazine. (Did these appear in 1899 -1900?)

Box 3, File 82: TLs from Bridgman to Jesup, Nov. 17, 1899, with draft statement about Fort Conger material: Received under the auspices of the Peary Arctic Club from Fort Conger in May, 1899, and restored by the Club to the United States, December, 1899.

Box 3, file, 83, p. 5, July 10, 1900 in Bridgman memorandum: The Secretary of the club caused to be made a rubber stamp reading ‘Recovered from Fort Conger in May, 1899, by Civil Engineer R. E. Peary, C.E., U.S.N., under the auspices of the Peary Arctic Club and by it restored to the United States.’ And after impressing this upon several thousand sheets and pages suspended his work, believing that it would be fruitless. […] The records are now in the original package stored in the fireproof warehouse of the Brooklyn Warehouse and Storage Co.

Box 3, file 85, Oct. 20.1902, Peary to Bridgman: it was extremely nice of the Club to resolve to give me the Arctic library. I appreciate both the act and the gift very highly.

Oct. 23, 1902, Peary suggests to Bridgman that they make “as much as possible out of the return of the Lady Franklin Bay instruments.”

Oct. 23, 1902: Mrs Peary to Bridgman, an apparently satirical letter on invitations to a dinner to include: John B. Pond (Biggest man in NY); F. W. Stokes (Greatest Arctic Artist); Thomas S. Dedrick, only sane man in Peary Expedition. Also “send A.W.G [Greely, a great Peary enemy] no less than invitations.

Oct. 27, 1902, Peary to Bridgman, a nasty letter on how to handle Dedrick’s request for his “bonus” compensation: This whole thing on

D—‘s part (in spite of his fine words & role of martyr) is simply a game to obtain the notoriety which he never would have obtained by legitimate work.

Box 3, file 86

Nov., late November shows declining interest of PAC members in continued financing of Peary’s ventures.

File 86, Dec. 19, 1902, Bridgman to Elihu Root, Secretary of War: The Peary Arctic Club tenders to the War Department the original records and scientific instruments of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, abandoned at Fort Conger, in August, 1884, and brought thence in 1899 and 1901 by the expedition under its auspices led by Commander Robert E. Peary, U.S.N.

File 89: Letter to Peary Arctic Club after two claims were made. [??]

B Boxes IV to VI are primarily observations and data with some diaries (Elison?)

Box 4, file 88: PAC correspondence, November 1906—February 1908

Box 4, p 91: Albert Operti, Peary artist, has diaries of 1896 Peary expedition aboard Hope, July 14, 1896—November 1896. Operti was also on 1897 voyage retrieving the largest of Peary’s meteorites.

Verso of 1. 9, Thurs. 23: Have been into the top with Mr. Smith—humming a few Hymns—smoking and card playing, with reading of Arctic books is the present pastime.

File 92, Petition of 2 seamen, Moses & Crossman to the Peary Arctic Club for payment of 33% bonus after 15-month voyage, unfairly denied them. Suit is against Captain John Bartlett of the Windward, dated Dec. 1, 1899. The outcome of the petition is unclear from these documents. Reminds one of Dedrick litigation above.

File 93, John Bartlett in turn sued PAC for $1205 for services as master of Windward.

File 94, Copies of letters from Henson to Bridgman, looking for money and jobs.

File 95, December 5, 1907: Peary to Bridgman: Left a book for him (Lever’s “Con Cregan”) from the Roosevelt’s library at Cape Sheridan, as a souvenir of my appreciation of his luck. (left to Mr. Kanton).

File 96, October 7, 1908; contains an angry telegram to Bridgman from Peary: Whitney should promptly contradict to Associated press Cook’s lies about provision in Bernier letter. [Then something about “pumping Matt,” “if that matter gets out without Map or to the other side before our statement is published it will destroy its force…. Osborne must keep it absolutely quiet.” This was written from South Hopewell, Me., after Peary’s return.]

File 106, various accounts of 1898-1902 voyage, prefaced by Peary’s attacks on Sverdrup and Nansen, a paranoid letter threatening all his plans.

March 3, 1902: My supporting party of Eskimos returning from Conger brought down the instruments, chronometers, & Arctic library. (p. 2). The Windward has on board the instruments, chronometers & Arctic library abandoned by the Expedition at Conger; numerous specimens in natural history…. (p. 6)

File 107, Peary letters, 1899-1900. Includes long report by Peary for this period, including time at Fort Conger, dated Aug. 18, 1899, and written aboard and near Windward: Not believing it desirable…to do any traveling north I completed the work of securing the meat & skins obtained, getting the records and private papers of the U.S. International Expedition together, rescuing as far as possible collections and property, housing material and supplies still remaining serviceable and making the house more comfortable for the purposes of my party.

Aug. 25: finds English records “from the summit of Norman Lockyear I., deposited there twenty-two years ago [by Nares?]. This record was as fresh as when left.

Comments about proximity of Sverdrup on p. 3 and 5, obviously feeling that he represented threatening competition. He finds his sledge tracks. Somehow Peary knew where the Fram was, and how many animals they had killed.

p. 9: one of his men deserted but when overtaken, received “a lesson he will not forget.”

p. 11-12, arrives at Fort Conger where they ate from open tins and biscuits “just as they had been dropped over fifteen years ago.”

p. 15: May 23 we started for the ship, carrying only the original scientific records of the expedition, the private papers of its members and necessary supplies. Routine office records, such as mess and tobacco accounts, property returns were left. I was still obliged to ride continuously. Favored with abundant light & continuously calm weather, and forcing the dogs to their best, the return to the ship was accomplished in six days, arriving there May 29. Should the War Department desire the above mentioned records, I will endeavor to get them out another year. [The last sentence is crossed out in dark blue ink, looking particularly Pearyesque.]

p. 18, saw Fram stuck in ice.

Sept. 17, 1902: Sydney, N.S. Peary to Bridgman: About a week later my Eskimos began to fall sick, not one escaping. By Nov. 19 (1901?) six adults & one child were dead. Nearly all the others were weak, but out of danger.

Files 107 and 108 have not been reviewed.

File 109, June 17, 99, William Libbey to Bridgman: I enclosed a list of books I have picked out and packed up for the Arctic Library—I send it so that you may avoid duplicates in making your selection.

File 110: Russell Porter Hunting Party

File 112: Resignation of Dedrick in 1901—very interesting letters.

Box 5, File 122, Peary to Bridgeman, Dec. 25, ’02, gives Inventory of Fort Conger instruments “now in the possession of the Club.” The letter itself is followed by “Invoice of Peary Arctic Club Material Brought back by R. E. Peary, USN. September 1902.” Boxes 1-6: Arctic Library from Fort Conger (see detailed catalogue).

File 126, newspaper clipping about Dedrich/Peary feud, including allegation that Peary would give him nothing to read.

File 120-30, these files show Peary using Dept. of Navy letterhead for his personal business. See for example File 130, Feb. 2, 1903, where it is clear that Peary is using his Navy Dept. job for his planning of the next expedition. The same file shows Peary inquiring about several well-known Polar ships as possible purchases for his next expedition: Stella Polare (Italy), Scotia (Scotland), Discovery (UK), Terra Nova (UK)

File 146, application of George Bryce for surgeon on next expedition (6 March 1907)

File 153, lists books stolen from Roosevelt.TLs John E. Kehl [U.S. Consul, Sydney, Nova Scotia] to H. L. Bridgeman, Secretary, Peary Arctic Club, September 30, 1909:

Dear Mr. Bridgeman:- I am sending you to-day per express the following lot of books, two of which were delivered to the Consulate, and two were received by the Police. Professor McMillian’s [sic] notes on “Birds seen North of 82” were recovered by Policeman John B. Floyd of this City. Perhaps you or Professor McMillian will address a few lines to him.
The books sent are as follows:-

“Notes on Birds seen North of 82”
“Conquering the Arctic Ice”, evidently the property of George Borup.)
“Goethe and Schiller”
“Folk Lore”, also the “War Cry”, with a cartoon which, I believe, you will appreciate. The enclosed newspaper clipping explains itself. My supply of “crystal and momentoes” are decidedly small.

Sydney certainly did its share in tendering Commander Peary a most enthusiastic reception. When one considers that we have a population of only 17,000, and that fully 15,000 were along the water front on the day of his arrival, we can feel justly proud of the results attained.

With the very kindest regards, Yours very truly, John E. Kehl [sig.] Consul

The attached undated newspaper clipping is apparently from the Sydney newspaper in late September, and reads as follows:


They are [of interest?] to Prof. McMillan

And [nobo?]dy Else.

United States Consul Kehl has been handed three more of the books which were taken from the cabin of Commander Peary’s Arctic steamer Roosevelt. There were many more books taken from the ship when she was moored at the ferry landing upon the day of the explorer’s arrival here. As these books are all of a technical character, they are absolutely no use or service to anyone of the persons who took them away, but they are of use to the members of the Arctic expedition, and the parties who carried them away should have the decency to return them immediately. What are of even much less value than the books to local people are the note books and manuscripts belonging to Prof. McMillan, and which contained copious notes of Esquimaux and bird life within the Arctic circle. If the parties holding these will return them immediately nothing more will be said about the matter. The persons who took these books from the ship are now known and will be proceeded against unless they immediately return the articles which they purloined. It is recognized that the persons who took any kind of articles from the Roosevelt carried them away not with a deliberate attempt at stealing but solely as mementoes of the Arctic trip. If these parties will return these note books and manuscripts, Consul Kehl will present them with crystals and other mementoes of actual value.

Box VI, File 154, 10/8/09 Letter from Marvin’s pastor in Elmira asking Peary for testimonial to his fine character.

10/7/09, Peary to Bridgman on telegraph form: Whitney should promptly contradict to Associated press Cooks lies about provision in Bernier Letter. Hubbard should be fully informed of Bumpus action in pumping Matt if that matter gets out without [map?] or to the otherside before our statement is published it will destroy its force Bumpus and Osborne must keep it absolutely quiet. Peary.

10/9/09—Erie Railroad caboose sent north with Peary in 1898 on Windward. Return to Railroad at Newburgh NY in 1902.

10/23/09 F.R Kenyon to Birdgman on the offer of a sledge to B.M. Follow up one to Bridgman11/18/07. Profuse thanks but suggests RGS would be better place.

File 157, an analysis of the death of Prof. Ross Marvin, by Thomas F. Hall.

Sept. 30, 1909, Peary telegram to Bridgman. Tells him to tell Brtlett that no one on Roosevelt was to talk about Cook. Same day Peary asks for a copy of Sverdrup’s maps or his book New Land.

October 17, 1909, Peary to Bridgman from Portland, MA: If Henson as newspapers say has pictures of the north pole or the sledge journey he has lied to me and these pictures must on no account be shown by him I doubt the papers, Peary.

File 158, re Goodsel MS, journal and lecture—reviewed by Mabel Wood at Explorers Club for possible acquisition (July 1962). Suggests Peary’s duplicity in remaining silent on whether he achieved the North Pole during the period of his return. Where are the mss. & journals?? Goodsell, was surgeon on 1908-09 journey. And wrote a critical book about Peary.

Box VII, File 188—a very extensive correspondence between Peary and Bridgman and a few others, in transcript copies. Where are originals?

Oct. 7, 1909: Peary to ??

Box VII, File 7, material on Arctic Moon. See Polar Record (1991) 27, p. 43

Box VII, File 14, p. 1. Mrs Lilla Pavy to Octave Pavy. March 1 1881: Tonight, I sent to you some seaside library books which I hope you will enjoy. The Lucile I sent, intending to mark passages all through when I returned home this evening but the clerk kindly offered to prepare it for the mail and I consented.

Box VII, also folder 14, another letter p. 5-6, Lilla to Octave in 1881: They talk so much about Howgate being & —But remember that I —I am now dependent upon him, and waiting for his help to get—Situations &c (?) I do not admit to anyone that there has been injustice.

p. 6: It is not best to get Capt Howgate’s , as I fear coming back , for he would not allow you to go again in . [Lilla goes on to encourage Pavy to sign on with Greely as surgeon, a fateful bit of advice.]

Box VII, File 18, draft letter from Pavy to ?? in which Pavy offers his provisions, “scientific books, and all the books (except those which I have shown you as the property of the Signal Office),” his instruments etc to “remain with you as a guarantee for what you have advanced me.” Why was this collateral needed?

Box VII, File 22, purports to be a translation from French of a German tale, translated by Sgt George Rice “to while away a few hours of Hyperborean ennui.” He must have had an original to work from.

Here the record numbering goes askew—what follows is what I started on July 26 and I assume some new file numbers for LFBE.

Box VII, File 25, a second account of Brainard’s journal address to “My dear Wilkins: ??

folio 3, p. 1: Magazines, newspapers and books embracing the complete works of several celebrated authors was contributed by the many friends of the expedition, these in addition to a few dramatic entertainments…

folio 2, p. 1: Through the kind thoughtfulness of friends to the expedition a large collection of papers, magazines, games of every description and the complete works of several eminent authors in addition to other books of special interest to Arctic explorers were contributed and with which the weary hours were beguiled away.

Box VII, File 27, Lt. Lockwood’s serial letter to his father, commencing Jan. 9 1882: ??

p. 13, Jan. 12, 1882: Today the “Arctic Moon” should appear but I have decided to postpone it to the end of the month. I have occupied myself today in tracing a map of Lieut. Beaumont, of the north shore of Greenland and in reading McCaulays History of England also in transcribing my shorthand journal. Beaumont commanded the Eastern sledge party of the last English Expedition in the Polar Regions (that of Nares). I will use the map as far as it goes but if I get no further than he did I shall not consider that I have done anything. I find McCaulay very interesting so far. I have got to Charles II, rather the introduction you know to the real history. [stopped at p. 19, Jan 29]

Box VII, File 26, the third unaddressed account, dated Aug.9 as initial date, but unfinished and much briefer than other two:

folio 2, p. 1: Through the kind thoughtfulness of friends to the expedition a large collection of papers, magazines, games of every description and the complete works of several eminent authors in addition to other books of special interest to Arctic explorers were contributed and which the weary hours were beguiled away.”

Box VII, File 27: Lt. Lockwood’s serial letter to his father, commencing Jan. 9 1882: ??

p. 13 Jan. 12, 1882: Today the “Arctic Moon” should appear but I have decided to postpone it to the end of the month. I have occupied myself today in tracing a map of Lieut. Beaumont, of the north shore of Greenland and in reading McCaulays History of England also in transcribing my shorthand journal. Beaumont commanded the Eastern sledge party of the last English Expedition in the Polar Regions (that of Nares). I will use the map as far as it goes but if I get no further than he did I shall not consider that I have done anything. I find McCaulay very interesting so far. I have got to Charles II, rather an introduction you know to the real history. [stopped at p. 19, Jan 2 ??]

Bridgman from Eagle Island, Private and Confidential. Peary here talks about the possibility of submitting his proofs simultaneously with Cook’s for examination by the Royal Danish Geographical Society, with a typescript of Peary’s ms. notes explaining that “my proofs in refutation of Cook’s”: Records of my own work are for home, not foreign examination.” If Henson’s version of the Eskimo narrative [sic] is kept absolutely quiet until our statement is out there is no harm, but every additional person who becomes familiar with the substance of that statement, increases the chance of either the Herald’s or Cook’s friends getting hold of it, and then making it public in garbled form to weaken the force of the real statement, or for them being fully prepared for its appearance.

Oct 12 letter to General T. L. Hubbard, Peary cites the Review of Reviews, Oct 09, p. 445 for an article on Cook by Stead: This [article in the Review] may be a good reply to what will undoubtedly be the immediate answer of Cook and his friends to our statement; namely, that Eskimo evidence is worthless.

October 15, 1909, something about a Henson challenge to Cook in a letter from Peary to Bridgman: It is likely to make a fool of Henson by giving him pronounced megalomania; it will put him in a position to be tangled up and made to say anything by emissaries of the Herald, and it will introduce into the matter the race issue.

October 19, 1909, Peary to Bridgeman, p. 2: It is a simple statement of facts to say that Cook stole the field of work, the methods, the assistants and the material of another man, to enable him to steal that man’s honor…. Since then he has stolen the dollars of the public.

[The whole of File 188 is one of Peary fearing conspiracies, invoking paranoid strategies, planting anti-Cook ideas for others to put forth.]

File 189, St Louis Mirror, Feb. 3, 1910—most of an issue defending Cook.

File 194, Evelyn Briggs Baldwin, “Positive Proof of Dr. Cook’s Attainment of the Pole,” 9 p. privately printed pamphlet.

File 196, Pro and con correspondence on Cook’s claims. Cities Farley Mowat article on “The North Pole,” McLeans Magazine, Sept 4, 1965, p. 28-30 where Mowat says Peary never reached the Pole.

March 3, 1911, Cook to Pres. Taft attacking Peary for robbing schoolchildren “to make Arctic concubines comfortable.” Peary is covered with scabs of unmentionable decency.

BOX VIII: File 212—Treasurer Cannon’s files of account letters 1899-1903, correspondence copies on onion-skin paper containing typed letters, primary financial, receipts for membership fees, etc. Many are illegible but clear enough to indicate concerns about the finances of the Club at a time when PAC was buying a ship for Peary in 1900 (see Dec 5, 1899, ltr from Treasurer to Bridgman).

File 213, copy of “Peary’s North Pole Exploration: Field Work of the Peary Arctic Club, 1898-1902.” From Smithsonian report for 1903, p. 427-57. Washington, GPO, 1904 (No 1512).

Boxes IX to XII + one unnumbered box: Photographs.

Box IX, Collection of photos from Peary Expedition (probably last), a few annotated but most unidentified. One shows an Inuit man and an annotation that the woman introduced the clap aboard ship [Roosevelt] and for a time was most unpopular. Another shows grave of Einarsson (sp?) of Nares expedition

Box X, Unnumbered. Has small black photo album, probably from last Peary expedition, with photos of Peary, Henson, Marie Peary, Marie with other women, etc., and others of landscapes & villages. Probably taken by a member of 1908-09 expedition. #3: Peary; #7: Henson; #10 and 20: Marie Peary with other woman, possibly at Sydney, N.S. #24: Crowds greeting Peary, Sydney? #25: Peary arrival at Battle Harbour; # 31: Marie Peary, at reception in Sydney?; #32: Peary being feted. Reception photos are probably from Sydney, N.S. on July 21, 1909, after Peary arrived from Battle Harbour.

Box X: Many photos of wildlife, musk oxen, walrus, reindeer, etc. One group of musk oxen is labeled Lady Franklin Bay, another is being chased by dogs. Also has pictures of natives in groups or singly. One labeled 10.42 is labeled Cape Rawson “on our start for home. This is the Cape marking the end of the Robeson Channel, the corner turn into the Polar Sea.” Rawson was on Nares exped. And was later killed in Egypt.

BOX Unnumbered as three issues of Hampton Magazine, Jan, Feb, July 1910, printing three chapters of Peary’s “The Discovery of the North Pole.” First installment was January, underplaying Henson with no picture.

BOX XI and XII: Photos, including Operti’s Photo album from Fiala (Ziegler Ex) and Peary’s 1896 exped. and duplicates from other boxes, including pictures of Roosevelt. Pictures are not well organized or documented. Box XII includes reproductions from elsewhere but with Peary, Macmillan, natives, and Henson with dog team (folder 3).