“I HAD THE HONOR AND PLEASURE OF DISPLAYING THE FLAG OF THE NAVY LEAGUE AT THE POLE”: TYPED LETTER SIGNED BY ROBERT PEARY IN THE YEAR OF HIS DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH POLE, FRAMED WITH PHOTOGRAPH
PEARY, Robert. Typed letter signed. Washington, DC, 1909. Letter measures 8 by 9-1/2 inches; handsomely framed with portrait, entire piece measures 15-1/2 by 19 inches. $3800.
Typed letter signed by Robert Peary, dated December 1909, expressing his thanks for the use of a Navy League flag which he relates he flew upon his discovery of the North Pole in February of the same year. Framed with black-and-white photograph of Peary, shown on a shipdeck bundled in animal skins.
After leading several prior Arctic expeditions that fell short of the final goal, Peary set out on his last quest for the North Pole in 1908. 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. Upon his return he learned of the almost simultaneous announcement of Dr. Frederick A. Cook who claimed to have reached the Pole one year earlier. A bitter controversy followed. Although Cook spent much of his life attempting to substantiate his claim, Congress officially recognized Peary's achievement in 1911. In his letter, addressed to Edward Trenchard of Babylon, NY, Peary expresses his gratitude for being supplied with a flag of the Navy League—a civilian organization dedicated to promoting the efforts of American maritime military efforts—and happily discloses that the flag was flown on his historic mission to the North Pole: "It is true, as you have seen noted in the papers, that I carried the Navy League flag, which the ladies of your League so kindly transmitted to me through you, to the Pole, displayed it there… The flag is subject to your further instructions." Signed "Robert E. Peary, U.S.N."