Arriving at the North Pole

April 6, 1909:

Robert Peary reaches what he determined to be the North Pole.

Here’s the needlework connection to this date:

Kathy Augustine introduces us to a very special woman in her article on Josephine Peary (1863–1955) in the Spring 2015 issue of PieceWork’s special publication Knitting Traditions. In “Josephine Peary: Icebreaker of the Arctic,” Kathy details Josephine’s journeys with her husband, Robert (1856–1920), as he strived to reach the North Pole. Here’s Kathy to tell you more—

“Three years after their 1888 wedding, and despite public criticism, Josephine accompanied her husband aboard the Kite to sail to the northern shores of Greenland. Josephine documented her initial journey in My Arctic Journal: A Year Among Ice-Fields and Eskimos in 1893. . . .”

(Original Caption) Mrs. Robert E. Peary, wife of Rear Admiral Peary, discoverer of the North Pole, and who accompanied her husband on two of his polar explorations. Mrs. Peary has been entertaining extensively this winter in the honor of her debutante daughter, Miss Marie Peary. Josephine Peary. January 1, 1900. Photo by Bettmann/GettyImages.

Josephine Peary. January 1, 1900. Photo by Bettmann/GettyImages.

And here’s Josephine’s Friday, January 22, 1892, journal entry—

“Another clear cold day; the temperature, -39°. . . .In the house [built by the expedition team on the shore of McCormick Bay, about 900 miles south of the North Pole] I wear a knit kidney-protector, a Jaros combination suit, two knit skirts, a flannel wrapper, and a pair of knit stockings, together with a pair of deerskin ones in place of kamiks. When going out I only add my snow-shoes, my kooletah (great fur overall), and muff. In this rig I can stay out and walk for hours, and feel more comfortable than I have felt while shopping in Philadelphia or New York on a winter’s day.”

American explorer Robert Edwin Peary (1856 - 1920) at his base on return from the North Pole with his huskies. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Robert Peary at his base camp with his sled dogs after returning from the North Pole. Photo by Hulton Archive/GettyImages.

Josephine was not with Robert when he finally reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909, but an American flag that she had sewn out of taffeta for him was. Kathy explains, “Peary placed a diagonal swath of his precious flag at the top of the world.”

Kathy Augustine’s Polaris Puppy knitted project that accompanies her article on Josephine Peary in the Spring 2015 issue of Knitting Traditions. Photo by Donald Scott.

Kathy Augustine’s Polaris Puppy knitted project that accompanies her article on Josephine Peary in the Spring 2015 issue of Knitting Traditions. Photo by Donald Scott.

Read about Josephine’s amazing life in Knitting Traditions Spring 2015, a special issue from PieceWork. You’ll also find instruction for making Kathy Augustine’s delightful Polaris Puppy. She says, “This knitted and stuffed sled dog was created in honor of Josephine Peary’s adventured in the Far North.”

Thank you, Robert and Josephine for broadening our horizons!
Jeane


Read more about Josephine and Robert Peary in this special issue from PieceWork! Both print and digital editions are available.

 

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