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Robert Edwin Peary Collection M145

Title:
Robert Edwin Peary collection
Creator:
Peary, Robert E., (Robert Edwin), 1856-1920
ID:
M145
Date [inclusive]:
1855-2010, undated
Extent:
1.0 linear feet
Language:
English
Repository:
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Abstract:
Collection contains correspondence (1881-1957), including 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).
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

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

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.

This collection 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.

Series Description:

The correspondence consists of letters written to and from Robert Edwin Peary and his family, beginning after his graduation from Bowdoin in 1877, and extending beyond his death in 1920. Many of the letters are personal correspondence between Peary family members and close friends, such as Donald Baxter MacMillan and Captain Charles Morrill. There is also business correspondence concerning preparations for Peary's Arctic expeditions, maintenance of Peary family estates, and Peary's purchase of several islands in Casco Bay.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

1881 - 1910

Box 1 Folder 1

1891, Expedition to Greenland

Box 1 Folder 1a

1907, Purchase of islands in Casco Bay

Box 1 Folder 2

1911 - 1920

Box 1 Folder 3

Post 1920

Box 1 Folder 4

undated

Box 1 Folder 5

Series Description:

Newspaper and magazine clippings concerning Peary, his family, his Arctic expeditions, and Arctic exploration. The clippings date from 1855, covering events such as Peary planting the flag at the North Pole in 1909, his support for an aerial coast patrol 1915-1917, and the U.S. Government issuing a stamp in his memory in 1959. Other topics include books written about Peary and the ongoing controversy over whether or not Peary actually discovered the North Pole.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

1855 - 1899

Box 1 Folder 6

1900 - 1919

Box 1 Folder 7

1920 - 1939

Box 1 Folder 8

1940 - 1949

Box 1 Folder 9

1950 - 1956

Box 1 Folder 10

1957 - 1958

Box 1 Folder 11

1959

Box 1 Folder 12

1960 - 1964

Box 1 Folder 13

1965 - 1969

Box 1 Folder 14

1970 - 1979

Box 1 Folder 15

1980 - 2000

Box 1 Folder 16

undated

Box 1 Folder 17

Reproduction of NY Times for September 7, 1909 "Peary discovers the North Pole"

Ovsz-Box C1

Series Description:

Miscellaneous biographical material consists of documents, ephemera, typescripts, and commemorative material related to Peary's life and works. The material includes a program for Bowdoin Class of 1877's graduation exercises and the agenda and Chapel Talk for "Peary at the Pole: a 75th Anniversary Celebration" held at Bowdoin in 1984.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

1877 - 1889

Box 1 Folder 18

1886 North Polar chart

Ovsz-Box C1

1890 - 1909

Box 1 Folder 19

1891-1892, "Atlantic Walrus" by Langdon Gibson

Box 1 Folder 20

1892, "Notes on Arctic Birds" by Langdon Gibson

Box 1 Folder 21

1910 - 1929

Box 1 Folder 22

1911 Mar 4, Certificate from Congress

Ovsz-Box C1

1930 - 1949

Box 1 Folder 23

1950 - 1969

Box 1 Folder 24

1970 - 1993

Box 1 Folder 25

2000 Apr 27, 91st anniversary of expedition, Arlington National Cemetery

Box 1 Folder 26

2001-2009, n.d., Peary's Fryeburg, Maine connection

Box 1 Folder 27a

2009, "The Dash," newsletter of Freeport Historical Society with articles about Peary

Box 1 Folder 27b

2010 Spring, "Peary and His Steamboat Agent: Buying Islands--Quietly," Eagle Island Journal, v.15, no.1

Box 1 Folder 27c

undated

Box 1 Folder 27

Series Description:

Pamphlets written by Robert Edwin Peary, or related to Peary's Arctic expeditions. Highlights of this series include a published edition of "Extracts from Commander Peary's Personal Diary: of his Trip to the North Pole", and "Bird notes from North Greenland" by expedition member Langdon Gibson.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

1887 - 1899

Box 1 Folder 28

1900 - 1904

Box 1 Folder 29

1905 - 1909

Box 1 Folder 30

"Extracts from Commander Peary's Personal Diary of his Trip to the North Pole", 1910

Box 1 Folder 31

1910 - 1914

Box 1 Folder 32

1915 - 1919

Box 1 Folder 33

1920 - 1922

Box 1 Folder 34

"Bird notes from North Greenland" by Langdon Gibson, 1922

Box 1 Folder 35

Series Description:

Photographs and images of Peary, his expeditions, and various other people and places. Highlights of this series include a photograph of Peary with President Theodore Roosevelt, an engraving by artist Albert Operti, a postcard by Operti entitled "Commander R.E. Peary, C.E. United States Navy", and a photograph of the Robert Edwin Peary Memorial Monument.

Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by image type, and then by subject.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Arctic scene by Albert Operti

Ovsz-Box C2

Peary in fur clothing, n.d. (one view, two sizes)

Box 1 Folder 36

Miscellaneous, n.d. - subjects unidentified

Box 1 Folder 37

Bowdoin flag from 1909 Peary polar expedition

Box 1 Folder 38

Bronze bust of Peary presented by Bowdoin class of 1877, n.d. (two views)

Box 1 Folder 39

"Class of 1877, Eagle Island", 1912 Jun 28

Box 1 Folder 40

"Dogs from Williamsport, PA", 1959 Apr 6 (two views)

Box 1 Folder 41

"Flag Island, Peary's lead dog", n.d.

Box 1 Folder 42

Miscellaneous, n.d. - subjects unidentified

Box 1 Folder 43

Miscellaneous nautical, n.d. with unidentified people and places

Box 1 Folder 44

Peary, Bowdoin class of 1877 photograph

Box 1 Folder 45

Peary in fur clothing with his dogs, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 46

Peary in pleasure boat with unidentified people, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 47

Peary in uniform, signed "R.E. Peary", portrait view, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 48

Peary in uniform, titled "Admiral Robert E. Peary, class of 1877", portrait view, n.d.

Ovsz-Box C2

Peary with Captain Roald Amundsen and Sir Ernest H. Shackleton, 1913 Jan 16 (two copies)

Ovsz-Box C2

Peary with Theodore Roosevelt, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 49

Robert Edwin Peary Memorial Monument, erected 1932

Box 1 Folder 50

Bronze bust of Peary from Century Magazine, 1910 Mar

Ovsz-Box C2

Josephine Diebitsch-Peary seated outdoors with a dog at her side, n.d.

Ovsz-Box C2

Peary in fur clothing, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 51

Peary in uniform, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 52

Postcard by Albert Operti titled "Commander R.E. Peary, C.E. United States Navy", n.d. (two copies)

Box 1 Folder 53

Postcard (metallic) titled "Launching of the Roosevelt, Peary's Arctic ship, Bucksport, ME 1905"

Box 1 Folder 54

Series Description:

A frame containing both the pin worn by Peary when he reached the "farthest north," 87[degree]6', in 1906, and a piece of fringe from the American flag he unfurled there. There is also a miniature Inuit sledge made entirely with a nail.

Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Pin worn by Commander R.E. Peary '77,when he reached the Farthese North, 87 [degree16', in April, 1906, and piece of fringe of American flag which he unfurled at that point [framed].

MRealia-Box 1

Sledge - miniature (six inches long) Inuit sledge, undated, made entirely with a nail. Brought home from North Greenland by Dr. Edward E. Vincent, surgeon of the Peary polar expedition of 1893.

MRealia-Box 1
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