“WE ARE ALL EXPLORERS IN AN UNDISCOVERED WORLD”: PRESENTATION ASSOCIATION COPY OF COOK’S CASE FOR REACHING THE NORTH POLE FIRST, INSCRIBED BY COOK TO ELBERT HUBBARD, WITH ACCOMPANYING SIGNED LETTER FROM COOK TO HUBBARD
COOK, Frederick. My Attainment of the Pole. Being the Record of the Expedition that First Reached the Boreal Center, 1907 - 1909 with the Final Summary of the Polar Controversy. New York: The Polar Publishing Co., 1911. Quarto, original pictorial brown cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4200.
First edition of Cook’s version of the North Pole controversy, inscribed and signed by Cook to Elbert Hubbard, founder of the successful and influential Roycroft Press: “To Elbert Hubbard, We are all explorers in an undiscovered world. May the lessons of this quest form a line in your book of destiny. Frederick A. Cook, Cleveland, O, Dec. 2, 1913.” With an autograph letter signed from Cook to Hubbard from the following year, thanking Hubbard for his helpfulness, “with Cheers from the sunny south,” tipped to the front pastedown.
Cook had accompanied Robert Peary on two Arctic expeditions before leading his own team in an attempt to be the first man to reach the North Pole. Though Cook claimed to have reached the Pole nearly a year before Peary, news of his achievement was delayed by his prolonged and dangerous return journey and reached the public just five days before Peary’s much-heralded announcement. After a long and bitter controversy Peary’s achievement was officially recognized as the first attainment of the Pole, but many still credit Cook with the prize. “Includes chapters on the polar Eskimos, their hunting and ways of life; descriptions of ice and snow in polar regions; and a new sledge design” (Arctic Bibliography 3389). Illustrated with frontispiece portrait photograph and 31 plates. Author and publisher Elbert Hubbard founded the Roycroft Press, which was closely associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. The success of the press and Hubbard’s encouragement of artists and artisans led to the establishment of a reformist community of craft workers in the village of East Aurora, New York. The “book of destiny” Cook refers to may have been a work in progress that Hubbard had told him about, but which Hubbard never was able to finish—in 1915 Hubbard and his wife, noted suffragette Alice Moore Hubbard, died in the sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania by a German U-boat. The letter, on Tampa Bay Hotel stationery, reads: “March 9, ‘14. My Dear Hubbard, Many thanks for your brotherly helpfulness. I read the article in Hearst’s with interest and appreciation. As to the copy for the Philistine [a magazine Hubbard published] kindly send it to me at 601 Steinway Hall Chicago. I will get there on the 15th. With Cheers from the sunny south, ever yours, Frederick A. Cook.” Also with two printed postcards laid in, advocating for a resolution to the Peary-Cook controversy (in Cook’s favor), one addressed to Mr. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, and the other left blank, to be addressed by the sender to his or her representative in congress.
Interior fine; near-fine cloth with just a bit of wear, much nicer than often found. An exceptional inscribed association copy.