Photographed July 16, 1905.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Location: Dock on Hudson River, New York, N.Y.
Camera: G.W. ''Billy'' Bitzer
The camera pans to show the schooner ''Roosevelt'' docked at a covered pier on the Hudson River on Manhattan's west side. Then, from a camera position on board, men in straw hats and fashionably dressed ladies are seen boarding the ship [1:20]. Next, the famous polar explorer Rear Admiral Robert Peary appears on the gangway in a dark jacket, mustache and straw hat [2:29]. He tips his hat, consults his watch, then, just before the film ends, motions to order the departure. On this expedition he achieved the ''farthest north'' record, but failed to reach the North Pole. Completed only four months prior to this film, the ''Roosevelt'' was specially designed to withstand Arctic ice. She was 184 feet long, 35 and a half feet wide, with a hull over two and a half feet thick. Fully loaded the ship weighed 1,500 tons while drawing only 16.2 feet. In addition to sail power, the ship was driven by a 1000 horsepower steam engine, which could produce short bursts of even greater power to get the ship through thick ice. The ''Roosevelt'' served Peary on this expedition as well as the following one in 1908-1909. Sold numerous times to a variety of commercial concerns, the ''Roosevelt'' was abandoned to the elements on a mud flat in Cristobal, Panama in 1937, where she eventually rotted away.
Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 February 20, 1920) was an American explorer who claimed to have been the first person, on April 6, 1909, to reach the geographic North Pole. Peary's claim was widely credited for most of the 20th century, though it was criticized even in its own day and is today widely doubted.
THE 1905-06 EXPEDITION
Peary's next expedition was supported by a $50,000 gift by George Crocker. Peary then used the money for a new ship. Peary's new ship Roosevelt battled its way through the ice between Greenland and Ellesmere Island to an American hemisphere farthest north by ship. The 1906 ''Peary System'' dogsled drive for the pole across the rough sea ice of the Arctic Ocean started from the north tip of Ellesmere at 83° north latitude. The parties made well under 10 miles (16 km) a day until they became separated by a storm, so Peary was inadvertently without a companion sufficiently trained in navigation to verify his account from that point northward. With insufficient food and with the negotiability of the ice between himself and land an uncertain factor, he made the best dash he could and barely escaped with his life off the melting ice. On April 20th, he was no further north than 86°30' latitude yet he claimed to have the next day achieved a Farthest North world record at 87°06' and returned to 86°30' without camping, an implied trip of at least 72 nautical miles (83 statute miles) between sleeps, even assuming undetoured travel.
After returning to the Roosevelt in May, Peary in June began weeks of further agonizing travel by heading west along the shore of Ellesmere, discovering Cape Colgate, from the summit of which he claimed in his 1907 publications he had seen a previously undiscovered far-north ''Crocker Land'' to the northwest on June 24th of 1906. Yet his diary for this time and place says ''No land visible'' and Crocker Land was in 1914 found to be non-existent by Donald MacMillan and Fitzhugh Green. On December 15, 1906 the National Geographic Society, which was primarily known for publishing a popular magazine, certified Peary's 1905-6 expedition and Farthest with its highest honor, the Hubbard Gold Medal; no major professional geographical society followed suit.
- excerpt from wikipedia
''The Roosevelt embodies all that a most careful study of previous polar ships and my own years of personal experience could suggest. With the sturdiness of a battleship and the shapely lines of a Maine-built schooner, I regard her the fittest icefighter afloat. As I write these lines, I see her slowly but surely forcing a way through the crowding ice. I see the black hull hove out bodily onto the surface of the ice by a cataclysm of the great floes. I see her squeezed as by a giant's hand against a rocky shore till every rib and timber is vocal with the strain. And I see her out in the North Atlantic lying to for days through a wild autumn northeaster, rudderless, with damaged propeller, and shattered stern post, a scrap of double reefed foresail keeping her up to the wind, riding the huge waves like a seagull till they are tired out.''
- Robert Peary, Secrets of Polar Travel
(New York: The Century Co. 1917) p.28-31.
The Rise of New York Port 1815-1860
- Robert Greenhalgh Albion
(This book is unsurpassed for a study of New York's history as a port city in the first half of the nineteenth century)
Film from the Library of Congress
01/04/12 - 3,622