Archdeacon Stuck, of Alaska, Exposes Dr. Cook.
The Rev. Dr. Hudson Stuck, archdeacon of the Yukon, in 1913 made the first
accepted ascent of the summit. In his book upon the subject, published by
Scribners in 1914, after tracing Dr. Cook's account of his alleged trip with the
packer Barrille to a point on a glacier several miles from Mount McKinley, then
From this point “up and up to the heaven-scraped granite of the top" Dr. Cook
grows grandiloquent and vague, for at this point his true narrative ends.
The claims that Dr. Cook made on his return are well known, but it is quite
impossible to follow his course from the description given in his book, To the
Top of the Continent.
Dr. Cook talks “about the heaven-scraped granite of the top” and “the dazzling
whiteness of the frosted granite blocks.” and prints a photograph of the top
showing granite slabs. There is no rock of any kind on the south (the higher)
peak above 19,000 feet. The last 1,500 feet of the mountain is all permanent
snow and ice: nor is the conformation of the summit in the least like the
photograph printed as “the top of Mount McKinley.”
But it is not worth while to pursue the subject further. The present writer
feels confident that any man who climbs to the top of Denali (Mount McKinley)
and then reads Dr. Cook's account of his ascent will not need Edward Barrille's
affidavit to convince him that Cook's narrative is untrue. Indignation is,
however, swallowed up in pity when one thinks upon the really excellent
pioneering and exploring work done by this man and realizes that the immediate
success of the imposition about the ascent of Denali (Mount McKinley) doubtless
led to the more audacious imposition about the discovery of the North Pole and
that to his discredit and downfall.
Dr. Cook's Present Methods.
It is said in a recent St. Louis newspaper, reporting an interview with Dr.
Cook, that he says he has" made about $10,000 a year out of his lectures and his
This same newspaper gives us the interesting information that during his
campaign he has obtained “90,000 signatures, which, attached to a petition, have
been forwarded to Washington,” and we may assume that as long as Dr. Cook can
find a market for his wares by his present methods he will continue them, and I
presume Congress can stand being deluged with these petitions from people who do
not have the facts except as presented to them by Dr. Cook and his coadjutors,
and who have no knowledge of Arctic conditions, but who seem to think that
Members of Congress are more competent to deal with them than the scientific
experts who have already passed upon them.
The Stand of Admiral Peary.
Admiral Peary's stand, persisted in through many years, not to demean himself by
any controversy with Dr. Cook, is one which must receive the hearty approval of
all right-thinking Americans. A few, perhaps, not knowing the character of Dr.
Cook's propaganda, do not understand that no self-respecting man could stoop to
engage in such a controversy. This phase is well summed up in an editorial in
the Omaha World-Herald which I will quote:
“They must either admit the charges or put me in jail,” says Cook and in the
saying discloses his motive. It is not only the besoiling of his successful
rival that he seeks; it is continued publicity—publicity no matter how
unenviable, so it may prolong his earning capacity on the vaudeville stage.
As a matter of fact, of course, “they” need do neither the one nor the other.
For the sake of the national sense of self-respect it is to be hoped that “they”
will leave the worm-eaten Cook severely alone, and that decent newspapers will
soon come to the stage where they will refuse to print his villainous slanders,
which are an affront not only to Peary but to the United States.
The Buffalo Evening News also expresses much the same thought in the following
editorial—and I lay particular emphasis upon the paragraph which I have
One would think that when a man has been, by his own acts of folly and
deception, utterly discredited and held in disgrace by his own countrymen, who
are, frankly ashamed of him, he would shut up, keep out of the way, nor dare to
appear in any public capacity. Yet Dr. Frederick Cook, the archfaker among
Arctic explorers and climbers of Mount McKinley, has nerve enough to erupt
again. * * *
Such charges, emanating from such a source, can do no harm to the distinguished
explorer whose claims as the discoverer of the North Pole hare been passed upon
and verified by the leading scientific societies of the world, and who, for the
glory he won for the American flag by his courage and perseverance, has been
fittingly rewarded by Congress. * * *
It is a shameful and disgusting exhibition, and Dr. Cook's appearance on the
Chautauqua platform is likely to cast discredit on the whole Chautauqua idea.
The Lowering of the Standard of the Chautauqua Platform.
As the president of a Chautauqua I must severely condemn the perversion of the
Chautauqua idea and commend the expression of opinion in the last paragraph
The Philadelphia Public Ledger has recently expressed a somewhat similar thought
in an editorial which I quote:
Throughout certain western Chautauqua circles, wherein the name but not the
nobility of the parent institution is used as a cloak for circus methods in
education, Dr. Cook has been eminently successful; but this will not change the
universal verdict of America and of the whole world. Let us have an end of any
further Cook Polar claims.
It also says:
Back of the recent action of the Committee on Education of the House of
Representatives, in dropping further consideration of what is known as the
“Cook-Peary controversy,” lies a long and sordid story, discreditable in all its
aspects. A group of people, some of them innocent and misled and others not
classifiable in polite terms, have been busily engaged in trying to filch from
Peary the credit due him as discoverer of the North Pole in the interests of Dr.
Most Americans supposed that the Cook issue died a natural death years ago.
The time will undoubtedly come when Chautauqua managers will be thoroughly
conversant with the activities of this man and the press of the country will
ultimately do its part against the circulation of perversions of history with
respect to the great feat that Admiral Peary achieved, an honor of which through
all future ages no nation can rob us.
The glory that is ours as a nation has been feelingly portrayed in the following
lines from the pen of Leigh Mitchell Hodges, entitled “The Flag that Tops the
You may sing a song of banners that are brave against the breeze,
Of flags that ne'er in time of need are furl'd;
You may boast the battle ensigns that have swept the seven seas,
But I toast the starry flag that tops the world!
Where the purple cold eternal
Seals the doom of all things vernal,
It is blooming with the beauty of a cause that can not die;
Where the wind is Death in motion
Flying o'er a frozen ocean,
It is smiling at the outer worlds against the frozen sky.
And the pole that bears the blossom of the old Red, White, and Blue,
Is the axis of the ball on which we're whirl'd;
0, it's fine to see her floating from the rod that bolds us true!
So uncover to the flag that tops the world!
'Round its base the hosts of nations
Through all coming generations
Will be circling in the life march till the spear of Time is hurl’d,
And by land or water faring
Not a man can get his bearing
Till his compass needle points him to the flag that tops the world!
The Last Phase.
Every true American educator must resent the recent efforts to poison the minds
of the children of this country with respect to the discovery of the North Pole.
Many newspapers seem to have been misled and have fallen into the trap of
offering Dr. Cook's book as prizes for essay's from the children upon the
subject of the priority of the discovery of the North Pole, and then, while the
children were in the act of writing such essays, printing a mass of material
furnished by Dr. Cook and giving a wholly distorted idea of the facts, yet in
such a subtle way as to give the impression of fairness.
To the honor of the editor of the Quincy (Ill.) Whig let it be said that he
exposed a similar plot in his issue of February 4, 1915. I quote from his
editorial upon the subject as follows, which is entitled “Press Agenting”;
A day or two, ago a smooth-talking stranger stepped into the office of
Superintendent of Schools Bauman, and after remarking about the weather, the
beauty of Quincy, and the high standard maintained by the Gem City's school
system declared that he was much interested in polar explorations and would like
very much if It might be arranged to give a series of talks on geographical
conditions in the far north in the local schools. He carried some testimonials
and got by with his request.
Scene No.2 reveals the Orpheum Theater announcing that Dr. Cook, the discovered
discoverer of the North Pole, would appear at the Orpheum some time soon.
Scene No.3 discloses an afternoon newspaper announcing that it will give away
free Orpheum tickets and a batch of Doc Cook's books to the school child who
writes the best essay on “Who discovered the North Pole."
Scene No.4 takes Mr. Baker into a number of grades and the high-school assembly
not as a lecturer on geographical conditions in the far North, but as the
advertising agent of the afternoon paper and the Orpheum Theater.
Mr. Baker made no “bones” in local newspaper offices as to who he was. The
editor of the Whig has plenty of his literature, signed “Personal representative
of Dr. Cook” but the Whig refuses to fall for the press-agent stunt which Mr.
Baker sought to pull.
In justice to Mr. Bauman it should be said that Mr. Baker kept him in absolute
ignorance of his real mission here, never mentioning his real mission nor his
connection with Dr. Cook. And should Mr. Baker hereafter attempt to set foot
inside a schoolhouse where the superintendent chanced to be it is more than an
even bet that he would never make a talk. * * *
The Whig believes that the people of Quincy and school patrons should know just
what manner of press agenting has been “pulled” on them.
The fact is that Doc Cook is just a plain notoriety seeker, now making his
living on the vaudeville circuits. * * *
His press-agenting stunt, however, is a good one and indicates the cleRussell R.ss of
the chap who once was hailed as the greatest man of his time and not the
greatest faker. That the public generally and reputable newspapers will fall for
“Mr. Baker” is just another evidence, however, that the American public likes to
Further comment upon such activities is unnecessary. I would not close the door
of investigation even to Dr. Cook, but he is not entitled to one in any
direction until he acts in a manner that accords with his pretensions. If he has
any bona fide claims there is but one honest course for him to pursue. Let him
in a straightforward manner submit them to the forum he himself selected, the
University of Copenhagen, or lay them before the American organizations of
scientific experts which have expelled him from membership and secure
reinstatement. Until he has done so and removed the stigma which rests upon him
as a result of his expulsion from the organizations of American explorers and
experts upon Arctic conditions he should not, through a lobby, press his claims
upon the attention of Congressmen, who know little if anything of polar research
and less of the scientific observations necessary to prove them.
That a group of Congressmen, such as the Committee on Education upon which I
serve, are more capable of determining the contentions of this man than the
distinguished scientists who have already passed upon them is both amusing and
ridiculous. All will admit that such a committee could further the advertising
scheme of the lecturer, but no one will contend that any committee of Congress
should be a party to such an enterprise. Neither should this body be a party in
furthering this latest propaganda among the school children of the country.
NOTE. —As this pamphlet goes to press the New York World, Philadelphia Public
Ledger, and other newspapers of March 7 in dispatches from Palm Beach, Fla.,
announce that at a raid upon the Beach Club there, made by directions of the
governor of Florida in efforts to break up gambling, its alleged proprietors,
John R. Bradley and his brother, were arrested and held in $5,000 bail. John R.
Bradley, it will be remembered, was the financial backer of Dr. Cook on his
alleged North Pole quest, and it was with him on his yacht, the John R. Bradley,
that Dr. Cook went north.