Silent Ambassadors

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Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909, which, if true, would have made them the first documented Westerners to do so (although a [widely discredited] claim by Frederick Cook that he had reached the pole the year before was disappointing news upon Peary and Henson’s return from the wild).  Doubts continue to assail the exploring community as to whether the two actually did reach the North Pole, though scholars generally agree that if they didn’t, they may have gotten as close as five miles.  Both men fathered a number of extra-marital children with their Inuit wives on this and previous expeditions, a common practice among explorers, but one that would have shocked some of their financial backers (the blithely-named New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, for one).  Henson’s account of his polar explorations, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole, is available for free at Project Gutenberg.  Peary retired to Eagle Island in Casco Bay, Maine, which you can now visit during the warmer months.
Stamp details:Issued on: May 28, 1986From: North Pole, AKDesigned by: Dennis LyallSC #2223

Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909, which, if true, would have made them the first documented Westerners to do so (although a [widely discredited] claim by Frederick Cook that he had reached the pole the year before was disappointing news upon Peary and Henson’s return from the wild).  Doubts continue to assail the exploring community as to whether the two actually did reach the North Pole, though scholars generally agree that if they didn’t, they may have gotten as close as five miles.  Both men fathered a number of extra-marital children with their Inuit wives on this and previous expeditions, a common practice among explorers, but one that would have shocked some of their financial backers (the blithely-named New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, for one).  Henson’s account of his polar explorations, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole, is available for free at Project Gutenberg.  Peary retired to Eagle Island in Casco Bay, Maine, which you can now visit during the warmer months.

Stamp details:
Issued on: May 28, 1986
From: North Pole, AK
Designed by: Dennis Lyall
SC #2223

(Source: arago.si.edu)

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