Home only long enough: Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, American science, nationalism, and philanthropy, 1886--1908.
Lankford, Kelly Lara.
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American Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary tried for twenty-six years to be the first man to reach the North Pole. The dissertation focuses on Peary's stateside efforts to raise money for his multiple expeditions. During his first trips, Peary recruited individual scientists to pay passage in return for the opportunity to do fieldwork in the remote Arctic. By 1898, Peary's public affiliation with scientists and the organizations that funded them, such as universities/colleges, the National Geographic Society, the American Geographical Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Museum of Natural History, changed the way he organized his expeditions. He attracted the attention of a small group of wealthy philanthropists and patrons of science who formed the Peary Arctic Club (PAC), an organization devoted to placing Peary at the pole. In part, the dissertation examines the connection between Peary's problems finding affordable rental ships and the United States' late nineteenth-century domination of the whaling industry. In 1905, the PAC raised enough money to build Peary the first powerful American ice-breaker ship, the Roosevelt. Peary's correspondences with various scientists, patrons, philanthropists, geographical organizations, book publishers, and zoo and museum officials receive close attention. Overall, the dissertation follows Peary's various money-raising campaigns and explains them within the context of American science, philanthropy, and nationalistic motives of exploration.
- OU - Dissertations