Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Robert Edwin Peary Collection

Robert Edwin Peary Collection, 1855- , n.d.

1.0 linear foot.

Catalog Number:M145

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920), son of Charles N. and Mary Wiley Peary, was born on May 6, 1856 at Cresson, Pennsylvania. Member of the Bowdoin Class of 1877, Peary was best known as the Arctic explorer who discovered the North Pole (April 6, 1909). However, in the years preceding and following this great event he served in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey and the United States Navy, first as engineer, ultimately rising to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1909. Following surveys for the Nicaragua Canal (1887-1888), he turned to Arctic exploration, which occupied much of his time from 1891 until 1909. He was the author of the following books: Northward over the Great Ice(1898), Snowland Folk(1904), Nearest the Pole(1907), The North Pole(1910). He was President of the International Geographical Congress in 1904, received the Legion of Honor from France in 1913, and served as an Overseer of the College from 1917 until his death on February 20, 1920.

Admiral Peary married Josephine, daughter of Herman H. and Madalena Schmid Diebitsch, on August 11, 1888. They had two children, Marie Peary Stafford and Robert Edwin Peary.

Scope and Content:
This material contains correspondence (1881-1957), which includes letters written by Peary's Chief Assistant, Donald MacMillan (Bowdoin 1898); notes and observations written by expedition member, Langdon Gibson (1891-1892); a published edition of Extracts from Commander Peary's Personal Diary: of his trip to the North Pole (1910); documents regarding two purchases of islands in Casco Bay (1907); images, most notable is one of President Theodore Roosevelt with Peary; clippings, ephemera and realia. For additional Peary material see: alumni scrapbooks, class of 1877.

Cite as: Robert Edwin Peary Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions:None.

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