ADMIRAL ROBERT E. PEARY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 05/07/1898 - HFSID 4452
Sale Price $850.00
THE POLAR EXPLORER, WHO HAS BEEN "LITERALLY LIVING HAND TO MOUTH EVER SINCE I CAME BACK FROM THE WEST", MUST HAVE $1,000 FROM HIS LECTURE AGENT BY THE NEXT WEEK IN ORDER TO SETTLE A DEBT
ROBERT E. PEARY. Autograph Letter Signed: "R.E. Peary", 1¼p, 5½x8½, front and verso. New York, 1898 May 7. On letterhead of Frederick H. Stokes Company, Publishers and Importers, to his lecture agent, James B. Pond. Begins: "My Dear Major". In full: "I write this simply as a memorandum. As I told you yesterday I don't wish to trouble you. You have been obliged at times to wait for me to meet my obligations, & I do not complain at waiting for you. If you find it possible to meet the entire amount in a week or so it will naturally be very acceptable for I have literally been living from hand to mouth ever since I came back from the west, in order to meet a note which was due the 1st. I obtained a two weeks extension, putting off the evil day till the 15th. I am still $1000.- short of the amount of the note. I must have a thousand this next week, then the balance can wait. I sincerely trust you will not fail me. Very sincerely". In the year he wrote this letter, Peary would set out on his longest (1898-1902) polar expedition, the first clearly defining his quest for the North Pole. On this expedition, Peary's would lose his toes to frostbite, and his wife, Josephine, accompanied by their daughter, Marie (born in 1893 during an expedition to Greenland), would spearhead a relief effort. The family was forced to winter in the northern region in 1900, but Josephine and Marie headed south in 1901. Peary refused to accompany them, making an additional, but unsuccessful, attempt to reach the Pole. ROBERT EDWIN PEARY (1856-1920) became a Civil Engineer in the U.S. Navy in 1881, and in that capacity explored Greenland in 1886 on the first of his seven polar expeditions. On July 17, 1908, after three unsuccessful attempts to reach the North Pole, he set out on another polar expedition. On April 6, 1909, he and a small party, including his assistant, Matthew Henson, and four Inuit, became the first to reach the North Pole. Although another American, Frederick A. Cook, had claimed to have reached the Pole five days later, Cook's claim was later refuted. In 1911, the year he retired from the Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral, Congress officially recognized Peary's achievement. JAMES B. POND (1838-1903), who began his speaker management career with the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, started his own agency in New York City in 1879 and was the nation's premier lecture agent for the next 20 years. His clients included other explorers, including Richard E. Byrd, Vilhjalmur Stefannson and Henry Stanley, as well as such notables as Mark Twain, Henry Ward Beecher, James Whitcomb Riley, P.T. Barnum and Booker T. Washington. We have found references to Pond representing Peary on the lecture circuit from the mid-1890s (Peary lectured on his explorations of Greenland), but have been unable to determine the outcome of this letter. Worthy of further research. Slightly creased. Light show through of ink. Fine condition.
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