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Frederick Cook
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    (June 10, 1865-August 5, 1940)
    Born in Hortonville, New York
    Physician turned explorer
    Founding member of the Arctic Club (1894) and Explorers Club (1904)
    Claimed to be the first to climb Mount McKinley (1906) and to reach the North Pole (1908)
    A later expedition proved that a picture he allegedly took from the summit of Mount McKinley was really taken from a mountain a full 15,000 feet smaller, which was dubbed 'Fake Peak.'
    He submitted no navigational records to support his claim of reaching the North Pole.
    Later explorers trying to trace his path found none of the landmarks he described in his journal.
    His two Inuit companions reportedly said that they had never traveled more than a few days away from land.
    He was convicted of mail fraud for making exaggerated claims about a Texas oil business (1923).
    His first wife died in childbirth a year after their marriage (1890).
    During the Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897-99), he saved several crew members' lives while their ship was trapped in the ice during winter.
    He was knighted by the king of Belgium for his role in the expedition.
    Ironically, the oil produced by the business he promoted ultimately exceeded his claims.
    He received a pardon from FDR (1940).

Credit: C. Fishel

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