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Cook's vindictive vaudeville show
"Dr. Cook has deliberately entered upon a campaign of justification, not for the sake of making the world believe him regardless of reward, but for the sake of dollars and cents to be won. He has organized his fraud and capitalized his deceit."
Congressman S. D. Fess, 1915
"...the Committee on Education of the House of Representatives, in dropping further consideration of what is known as the “Cook-Peary controversy,” lies a long and sordid story, discreditable in all its aspects. A group of people, some of them innocent and misled and others not classifiable in polite terms, have been busily engaged in trying to filch from Peary the credit due him as discoverer of the North Pole in the interests of Dr. Cook. Most Americans supposed that the Cook issue died a natural death years ago."
A vindictive "come-back" book
Cook was not one to give up a good con game, so he began a second stage of the polar controversy by writing a viciously vindictive book, My Attainment of The Pole. In this creatively fictitious work Cook argued against his critics with explanations for events only he could contrive. Cook accused Peary, in numerous angry footnotes, of almost every crime you can imagine from murder to rape. In a deliberate attempt to embarrass his rival he included a photo of Peary's Eskimo mistress & her baby. Cook wanted the public to know Peary had "abandoned this illegitimate child to the savage wilds of the north", etc. Cook sold his nasty book to the audiences attending his vaudeville show. Over the years 3 editions were printed for a total of about 60,000 copies.
(above) Images courtesy Library of Congress
Derivative image courtesy Library of Congress
Later, in Congress, Fess said "It is a shameful and disgusting exhibition, and Dr. Cook's appearance on the Chautauqua platform is likely to cast discredit on the whole Chautauqua idea."

"The Lowering of the Standard of the Chautauqua Platform.

As the president of a Chautauqua I must severely condemn the perversion of the Chautauqua idea and commend the expression of opinion in the last paragraph above quoted. The Philadelphia Public Ledger has recently expressed a somewhat similar thought in an editorial which I quote:

"Throughout certain western Chautauqua circles, wherein the name but not the nobility of the parent institution is used as a cloak for circus methods in education, Dr. Cook has been eminently successful; but this will not change the universal verdict of America and of the whole world. Let us have an end of any further Cook Polar claims"

"...the Committee on Education of the House of Representatives, in dropping further consideration of what is known as the “Cook-Peary controversy,” lies a long and sordid story, discreditable in all its aspects. A group of people, some of them innocent and misled and others not classifiable in polite terms, have been busily engaged in trying to filch from Peary the credit due him as discoverer of the North Pole in the interests of Dr. Cook. Most Americans supposed that the Cook issue died a natural death years ago."

"The time will undoubtedly come when Chautauqua managers will be thoroughly conversant with the activities of this man and the press of the country will ultimately do its part against the circulation of perversions of history with respect to the great feat that Admiral Peary achieved, an honor of which through all future ages no nation can rob us."

"Dr. Cook has deliberately entered upon a campaign of justification, not for the sake of making the world believe him regardless of reward, but for the sake of dollars and cents to be won. He has organized his fraud and capitalized his deceit." (Fess, 1915)
What was a Chautauqua?
The Chautauqua movement was founded in 1874 on the banks of New York’s Lake Chautauqua. The original intent was simply to edify rural teachers,...In 1878, the New York Chautauqua initiated the first book club in our country, eventually sponsoring more than 10,000 local reading circles in towns all across the land. At the turn of the century, Traveling Chautauquas were first introduced, and in their heyday there were 21 such troupes operating on 93 circuits, reaching a phenomenal 35 million people a year! Teddy Roosevelt was so taken by the radical democratic spirit of the original Chautauqua Tours, he exclaimed, "The Chautauqua is the most American thing in America." From: http://www.nancho.net/newchau/arc/histry.html


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