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Polar Exploration: Primary Sources in the Manuscript Division

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This list highlights examples of selected topics related to the subject of polar exploration. This page is not a full list of related materials that may be found in the Manuscript's collections, and is intended to help guide researchers to collections they may have not considered searching or specific topics in polar exploration.

Polar Controversy

From the end of the nineteenth and into the twentieth century, during the "heroic era" of polar exploration, America was fascinated with the idea of reaching and "discovering" the North Pole. In September 1909, both explorers Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary made claims to have discovered the North Pole in April 1908. On January 21, 1911, the House Committee on Naval Affairs officially recognized Robert Peary as the first person to reach the North Pole. However, there is still disagreement today over which man reached the North Pole first.

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Scientific Research

On expeditions, explorers usually brought along scientists or were scientists themselves. When they were in polar regions, scientists provided detailed research reports, notes, and other forms of writings about their observations.

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Dog-Sledding

To navigate harsh terrain, explorers would have to abandon vehicles and use dog-sleds as a means of transportation. Since then, dog-sledding has become a sport, with races still being held today in the far north.

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