New expeditions continued the work in 1893-95, and in two summer voyages (1896, 1897) Peary brought back to the United States his noted meteorites. An account of his arctic experiences appeared in Northward over the "Great Ice" (1898). Granted another leave of absence from naval duty, he again led an expedition (1898-1902), this time to search for the North Pole. He was only able to reach lat. 84°17'N, but he made important surveys of Ellesmere Land and a study of the surface and drift of the polar ice pack. His Nearest the Pole (1907) recorded the events of his 1905-6 expedition, when he attained lat. 87°6'N, which was only c.174 mi (280 km) from his objective.
In 1908, Peary set out on his last quest for the North Pole. From Ellesmere Island, accompanied by Matthew Henson and four Eskimos, he made a final dash for the pole, which he claimed to have reached on Apr. 6, 1909. He announced that he had achieved his goal, but on his return he learned of the prior claim of Dr. Frederick A. Cook, who had been ship's surgeon on Peary's expedition of 1891-92. An extremely bitter controversy followed, with Peary accusing Cook of fraud. Although Cook fought to the end of his life, not without some support, to substantiate his claim, Congress recognized Peary's achievement and offered him its thanks in 1911, the year in which he retired from the navy with the rank of rear admiral. Nevertheless, it remains questionable as to whether Peary reached the exact location of the North Pole, and many polar experts now do not believe either he or Cook did.
Peary's wife, Josephine Diebitsch Peary, 1863-1955, accompanied him on several of his expeditions and gave birth in the arctic to Peary's daughter, Marie Ahnighito Peary. His wife published her experiences in My Arctic Journal (1893).
See his North Pole (1910) and Secrets of Polar Travel (1917); biographies by W. H. Hobbs (1936) and J. E. Weems (1967); D. B. MacMillan, How Peary Reached the Pole (1934); W. R. Hunt, To Stand at the Pole (1982); M. A. Henson, A Black Explorer at the North Pole (1991); R. M. Bryce Cook and Peary: The Polar Controversy Resolved (1997); F. L. Israel, ed., Robert E. Peary and the Rush to the North Pole (1999).
(born May 6, 1856, Cresson, Pa., U.S.—died Feb. 20, 1920, Washington, D.C.) U.S. explorer. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1881 but was granted leaves of absence to pursue his Arctic expeditions. He explored Greenland by dog sled in 1886 and 1891, finding evidence that it was an island, and returned there in 1893–94, 1895, and 1896 to transport large meteorites to the U.S. After announcing his intention to reach the North Pole, he made several attempts between 1898 and 1905, sailing on a specially built ship and sledding to within 175 mi (280 km) of the pole. On April 6, 1909, accompanied by Matthew Henson (1866–1955) and four Eskimo, he reached what he thought was the pole, and he became widely acknowledged as the first explorer to attain that goal. (The claim of his former colleague Frederick A. Cook to have reached the pole in 1908 was later discredited.) In 1911 Peary retired from the navy with the rank of rear admiral. Examination of Peary's expedition diary and new documents in the 1980s suggested that the point he reached may have been 30–60 mi (50–100 km) short of the pole.
Learn more about Peary, Robert E(dwin) with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Lawrence and Lee turned to the live theatre in 1955 with Inherit the Wind, which remains among the most-produced plays in the American theatre. They are also well known for the plays Auntie Mame and First Monday in October. In 1965, Lawrence and Lee founded the American Playwrights' Theatre, a plan to bypass the commerciality of the Broadway stage, which foreshadowed the professional regional theatre movement. Their wildly successful play, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, was produced through the American Playwrights Theatre, and premiered at Lawrence's alma mater, Ohio State University, which also commissioned their play on the life and times of James Thurber, Jabberwock (1972). In all, they collaborated on 39 works, including a 1956 musical adaptation of James Hilton's Lost Horizon, entitled Shangri-La, with the author himself. They also adapted Auntie Mame into the hit musical Mame with composer Jerry Herman, which won a Tony Award for its star, Angela Lansbury. Less successful was the Lawrence and Lee collaboration with Herman, also starring Lansbury, Dear World, a musical adaptation of Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot. The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute, a research facility and archive was dedicated in Lawrence and Lee's honor at the Ohio State University in 1986.
Lee is survived by his wife, voice actress Janet Waldo (the voice of many well-known cartoon characters, including Judy Jetson), and his children, Jonathan Barlow Lee, the production manager for Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and Lucy Lee, who teaches Clinical Management Communication at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.