October 8, 1909


Explorer Begins Busy Day With
Coffee and Bananas -- Good Water
and Shave Greatest Pleasures
of Civilization.

"Doctor Cook?"

The short but compactly set-up man who was first to stand at the apex of the world, looked up from an improvised desk in a Hotel Baltimore room yesterday afternoon. He was deep in a consultation with his business manager over lecture dates.

"Yes, sir," responded the explorer quickly, his stock smile settling steadily over his face.

"My name is Terry," said the caller, with more assurance, as he reached for the famous doctor's hand. "C. A. Terry -- guess you don't remember me just this minute. It has been thirty two years since I saw you back in old York state.

"I'm a cousin of yours, and if you remember the last time I saw you, you will recall vividly that time your mother spanked both of us for some devilment we got into while playing in the back yard."

"Sure, I remember you," said the doctor readily. "What town was that in, anyway?"


But before Mr. Terry could reply, Dr. Cook had taken him by the arm and together they walked into an adjoining room to talk over that boyhood incident.

"Tell those Oklahoma City people," called the doctor to his manager, decisively disposing of a business matter quickly, "that Tuesday night is the only date open in that time they mention."

Mr. Terry, who gives Kansas City the distinction of having among its residents a relative of the famous explorer, was formerly manager of the Hotel Benton at Excelsior Springs, Mo., but has more recently been in charge of the Centropolis hotel here.

"After you got back to civilization doctor, what pleased you the most?" was asked of Cook.

Again that calm smile, as he replied:

"Well, outside of getting a real good drink of water, I think that the thing which pleased me most was a chance to sit in a barber's chair and get a good shave. A beard may be all right when you can take a few minutes, walk any time you want to and get to a barber shop to have it cut off. But it is mighty annoying to possess a beard when you know it won't come off."


"When you think of the North, of what do you think first? That is, what feature of that region or its elements first comes to your mind?" was asked.

A process of continuous questioning was necessary. The procession of answers came as far apart as the clicks of a slowly told rosary.

"The cracking of ice," was his answer, almost laconic. It took another question to get more.

"But the cracking and booming of ice seems to be about the least important thing among your adventures and in your work in the North?" was half queried to draw out something more.

"Yes," he said, "it is about the least important, but nevertheless I always think of the cannonading of the big ice hills first when I think of that endless field of ice."

He was smiling steadily during his answer.


Dr. Cook does not swear. He does not use liquor or tobacco in any form. seeking to get a little more of human interest, his questioner asked:

"Have you any pet name for your wife?"

"I refuse to answer that question," he replied, smiling broadly and more generously than before.

"What are your religious views?" was asked.

"That is none of your business," he retorted, but without any show of offense, and still the same old smile.

"Why did you go for the North Pole instead of the South Pole?" was the next question.

"The idea in polar research," he answered, "has generally been to get to the 90th degree of latitude, either north or south, but since weather conditions were generally better in the north, men usually sought to find that pole."

Questions in regard to Peary did not elicit much response. Dr. Cook said he did not care whether Peary had been to the Pole or not.

"Scientists cannot be fooled by polar observations," he said. "When the figures are all published there will be little discussion."


Referring again to the disputatious critics, he declared that he had climbed Mount McKinley in Alaska, and the fact was never disputed until the polar controversy came up.

Dr. Cook is 44 years old -- a German. His name was originally Koch, but he Americanized it for the sake of the easier pronunciation. The meaning is identical. He wears a stubby brown mustache, is compactly set up, very quiet, modest and reserved. He weighs 155 pounds, two pounds less than when he landed in Copenhagen early in September. The doctor is very genial and upbeat, but it is hard to get past the reserve which he has set up about himself to keep out of further pole quarreling.

He likes coffee and bananas for his breakfast and makes that short and odd ration a popular choice. His luncheons are heavy, but he partakes of very little food before a lecture. After talking he eats plentifully and of anything he cares for. Before his lecture he had two eggs and a cup of coffee.