The summary preceding the Sept. 7 "The Century in the Post" excerpt on "Peary vs. Cook" (taken from the Sept. 7, 1909, edition of The Post) said:
"The U.S. Congress investigated Cook's claims and ultimately gave Peary credit for the discovery."
However, a subcommittee of the House Naval Affairs Committee held hearings on Robert E. Peary's claims with a mixed result: The subcommittee recommended Peary's retirement as a civil engineer attached to the Navy "with the thanks of Congress for his Arctic explorations." The words "discoverer" and "discovered" relating to the North Pole were stricken from the amended bill, which passed in 1911.
Frederick A. Cook campaigned for a congressional hearing for his claims for almost five years, but the nearest he got was a session of the House Education Committee in 1915, which heard testimony from a copyreader for Hampton's magazine that Cook's story of his attainment of the pole had been tampered with and insertions made to suggest that he was deranged when making his claims. It was part of an "Icegate" of its day.
The Post's suggestion that "most experts agree" with Peary's claim is also subject to the literature on the subject.
"Most" encyclopedias and reference works have qualified the once universal acknowledgment of Peary's claim, and "experts" in North America and Europe are divided on this subject. In the past quarter-century, many have come to subscribe to Cook's claim to be the first to the pole.
RUSSELL W. GIBBONS