The Papers of Frederick Albert Cook in the Dartmouth College LibraryWMST Mss-127

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cook, Frederick Albert
Title Remainder: Papers. 1894-1958
Dates: 1894-1958
Identification: Mss-127

Administrative Information

The processing of this collection was supported by a Title II-C grant from the U.S. Department of Education


Frederick Albert Cook (1865-1940) began his career as an explorer in 1891 as a member of Peary's first expedition to North Greenland. He served as surgeon of the Belgian Expedition to the Antarctic, 1897-99. As leader of an expedition to Mt. McKinley in 1903-6, he claimed the first ascent of the Alaska peak. His most controversial expedition was his 1908 “discovery of the North Pole”. His claim was rejected first by scientists in Copenhagen, and Cook's reputation as an explorer was ruined permanently.

In the 1920's Cook was convicted of mail fraud, and he served a term of imprisonment at Leavenworth Penitentiary.

The papers of Frederick Albert Cook contain articles, correspondence, and newsclippings dealing with Cook's life and focusing on the controversial claims made by Cook. Of particular interest are autobiographical notes (20 1.) written in Cook's own hand and a 1911 letter to Mr. Colburn stating “I do not claim to have reached the exact pin-point of the earth's axis”. Cook's papers occupy.5 lin. ft. and are a part of the Vilhjalmur Stefansson Collection on the Polar Regions. Additional information on Cook may be gained in the papers of William Herbert Hobbs and in papers entitled Peary-Cook Controversy



Yahgan Grammar and Dictionary [1902?]




Summary typescript of the incident. Includes references to the work, listed in publisher's catalogues

Mt. McKinley Climb, 1906



1907 - “The conquest of Mt. McKinley”, by Cook in Harpers

1910 - “Dr. Frederick A. Cook - faker” by Karl Decker, in Metropolitan Magazine

1950 - “Who climbed Mt. McKinley?”, by Numa F. Vidal, in Saturday Evening Post

1958 - “Dr. Cook and Mt. McKinley”, by Bradford Washburn, in The American Alpine Journal

1958 - “Disputed peaks, a challenged route”, in Life


Newsclippings (photocopy)



Photos by Brad Washburn. Includes letters from Washburn to Stefansson


Sketches. Comparative pictures of the peaks and views in Cook's book

Discovery of North Pole, 1908



1 to Mr. Colburn

1 to Mr. Foss (copy)

2 from W. S. Schley





Oil Scandal

FOLDER : 10.


FOLDER : 11.


Letters from Judge John M. Killits

to William H. Hobbs (photocopy)

Extracts of letters to Judge Hahn

FOLDER : 12.

Written statements

Appendix G, omitted from “Peary” on request of the publishers

“Cook's oil scheme” (photocopy)

Cook's P. P. A. trust agreement

Material for rebuttal of possible plaintiff testimony at Cook-Macmillan trial (from Judge Killits)


Articles by Cook

FOLDER : 13.

“The Antarctic's challenge to the explorer”

“Dr. Cook's own story”

4 parts

“Feeling perception the only sense of life”

FOLDER : 14.

“The frozen south”

“The giant Indians of Tierra del Fuega”

“Go to the best jail”

FOLDER : 15.

“The new Antarctic discoveries”

“The possibilities of Antarctic exploration”

“Two-thousand miles in the Antarctic ice”

Articles about Cook (See also: Addenda, Page 4)

FOLDER : 16.

“The adventures of Dr. Cook”, by Ted Leitzell in Adventure

“Dr. Cook's own story”

“A footnote to University history: the first and second advents of Dr. Cook”, by William H. Hobbs, Michigan Alumnus Quarterly, 1935

“Our friend, Dr. Cook, leaves on parole:, in The New Era

“Physician explorer”, 1958


FOLDER : 17.

1894 - 2 to Robert Stein

1907 - 1 to Walsh (Photocopy)

1909 - 1 from Peter Freuchen to Herbert Bridgman (photocopy)

1913 - 1 to Arthur R. Colburn

1927 - 1 from J. E. Bernier to Cook

1930 - 1 to Max Thorek

1940 - 1 to F. D. Roosevelt from Ralph Shainwald von Ahlefeldt (copy)

Undated - to Cook from Thomas. S. Dedrick

1943 - A. E. Weilkamp to C. B. Driscell (photocopy)


FOLDER : 18.

“Frederick Albert Cook” autobiographical notes, 20 1. Holograph and typescript

FOLDER : 19.

“Pictorial problems of explores”, 18 1. Holograph and typescript

FOLDER : 20.

“Review of Cook's Return from the Pole”, by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. For a working draft of the review see Stefansson's papers


FOLDER : 21.

Brochures “The American Eagle”

“Frederick Albert Cook” [1975]

Lecture announcement

FOLDER : 22.

Dinner menu - banquet in honor of Dr. Cook, by the Arctic Club of America, 1909

FOLDER : 23.

Legal document - Complaint of Cook against the Macmillan Company

FOLDER : 24.

Statement to Mr. Taft concerning “material placed in our hands by Dr. Townsend for use in connection with the Cook case”


FOLDER : 25.

Covering various episodes in Cook's life


FOLDER : 26.

Portraits of Cook

Includes photographs of

Richard Finnie

Ralph Shainwald vonAhlefeldt

Anthony Fiala

2 pictures of Eskimos



Newsclippings from the New York Herald. 1909



FOLDER : 27.

Gibbons, Russell W. Frederick Albert Cook: Pioneer American Polar Explorer, 1980 reprint of 1965 first edition, with added material by Sheldon Cook-Dorough.

(See: Stefansson/G/670/1908/C7G52 for first edition.)

Cook-Dorough, Sheldon. Frederick Albert Cook: Discoverer of the North Pole, 1984.

Cook-Dorough, Sheldon. Frederick Albert Cook: The Major Expeditions, A Brief Summary, 1988.


Poster announcing “Frederick A. Cook Symposium -- Cook Reconsidered: Discovering the Man and His Explorations,” Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, October 22-23, 1993.

(Stored in top drawer of Stefansson map case.)

Finding Aids