NEWS: 1999

NEWS 2009—2004 | 2003 | 2001—2002 | 1999 | Table of contentsHome

For the first time in history the National Geographic Society has stated unequivocally that Matthew Henson reached the North Pole. 

NGS TV channel affirms Henson reached the North Pole! 
(April, 2001)

The NGS channel contacted this website last November to obtain a Henson Press Kit. We donated one to them. Later we sent them a CD of the BBC production. Obviously they made good use of our gift judging by the few minutes of video produced for the ninety second anniversary of Peary and Henson reaching the Pole. I saw it and heard it myself on their satellite channel today, April 7, 2001. Host Tom Foreman narrated that while Matthew Alexander Henson was the first man to reach the top of the world, Peary got the glory and Henson was forgotten. (Yes, we are well aware of this fact)

Is this attention long overdue? Of course it is. The NGS was over 90 years late in presenting Henson with their Hubbard Medal. They gave a Hubbard medal without hesitation to "white man" Bob Bartlett 90 years ago even though Bartlett turned back 137 miles before the Pole! Now the NGS as an institution seems to be on the right track even after printing Wally Herbert's "they were lost" theories in the 1988 NGS Centennial magazine issue. That very regrettable NGS faux pas opened a floodgate of "Peary was a fake" literature. As a result, many people now think Peary and Henson never reached the Pole. (See History Channel...) Therefore, it is fitting that the NGS do whatever is necessary to correct this situation. 

The facts are straight forward enough; Henson and Peary with 4 Inuit friends were the first people to reach the North Pole. They are still the only expedition to achieve a round trip journey from land to the Pole and back with dog teams. A world class challenge even today!


BBC Stealing The Glory (January, 2001)
RealAudio - Stealing The Glory from England's BBC
Pam Fraser Solomon of the BBC produces 30 minute radio show.
In a fitting tribute to Matthew Henson, after the award of the Hubbard Medal, our British friends have produced an insightful and uplifting 30-minute radio show. This website was contacted in November, 2000 for research assistance. Contact info was provided for the 6 North American contributors. Collector Bradley Robinson granted use of copyrighted Henson materials at no charge. Dr. Allen Counter waived his usual honorarium to help the BBC. This website shipped rare books and documents via airmail to London! We even stayed up till dawn scanning 60 and 90 year old documents to provide text for the script. The BBC was given material not published since 1910! In fact, we rushed to restore a 1939 interview with Matt that had been lost in time. After optical character recognition (OCR) processing this amazing Lowell Thomas piece is now available for researchers. The BBC used it to great advantage, as the actor read Matt's first hand account of how he reached the Pole.

In exchange the BBC has given the audio, after their broadcast on January 3, 2001 to this website for educational, non-commercial purposes. 
Allen Counter does it again!
Allen Counter, Audrey Mebane
Audrey Mebane and Harvard Foundation Director Allen Counter
Press release from NGS,,,

Henson awarded Hubbard Medal (November, 2000)
NGS Honors Henson with same medal given to Robert E. Peary, Neil Armstrong, Jane Goodall, and other distinguished individuals. By Jennifer Mapes November 29, 2000 ...
Matthew Henson was posthumously awarded the National Geographic Society¹s highest honor: the Hubbard Medal ... Society president John Fahey presented Matthew Henson¹s great niece, Audrey Mebane, with the Hubbard Medal at the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center. "The honor is long overdue," said Fahey. The medal recognized Henson's role in several arctic expeditions with Robert E. Peary, including their historic 1909 trek to the North Pole. "I had always been told by my grandmother that there was a black man [on the 1909 expedition]," said Allen Counter, director of Harvard University's Harvard Foundation, ... "She took great pride in saying that." Counter has become one of Henson's strongest proponents, researching Henson's polar treks and asking organizations, including National Geographic, to properly recognize the African American explorer.

 More at NGS

Paul Crowley, Paul Landry
Paul Crowley and Paul Landry
Wally Herbert Proved wrong!  (April, 2000)
Paul Landry duplicates Henson's "impossible" sledding speeds. 
Peary critics permanently silenced!

NorthWinds-Arctic Adventure

Read the story of how they did it. All the critics, such as Wally Herbert, either 1) Never handled a dogsled Weber), or 2) Overloaded the sledges to 600 - 1200 pounds. Landry keeps his sledge loads down to 400 pounds (just like Henson & Peary) and the can equal their speed over the ice of the Arctic Ocean.

Buy at Amazon.com
Back in print!
Matt's Biography back in print! (October, 2000)
 

This is a deliberately accurate reproduction of Matthew Henson's famous 1912 book about his experiences on the 1909 North Pole expedition with Robert E. Peary. Henson wrote a charming account with details not available in any other work.

 


$18 from www.childsworld.com

New Henson book is excellent!
... for grade school kids
JOURNEY TO FREEDOM® comprises three sets totaling 24 titles. At $431 this is a "must have" for your school library. Single titles can be purchased for just $18. Call 800-599-READ or visit www.childsworld.com - an easy to use website for ordering.

The graphics are just beautiful! The sepia toned photos are set in a color scheme of rich red and soft gold. Lovely! The quality of the writing leaves nothing to criticize. This is a well researched, accurate account of the expeditions Henson and Peary undertook to reach the North Pole. Even the controversy over the attainment of the Pole is thoughtfully resolved by referencing the work of the Navigation Foundation and the historic 1990 report in the National Geographic.

The durable library binding makes this a worthwhile investment for schools. This book uses 14 photographs from the Bradley Robinson Collection. Hey! That's me! The author, Ann Graham Gaines even listed this website in the "Further Information" section. Isn't that nice?

Highly Collectible North Pole Educational Set
Give children heroes when they're young so they may grow into their footsteps...

For only $29 (plus shipping) you can own one of these sets from David Pagani. Whether you appreciate it as an educational tool, an inspiration to young people, or a great collectible - you should buy one! Call Toll Free 1-888-780-6258 More info at: http://www.childlight.com/northpole/html_pages/northpole_home.htm

More pictures

These links provide free resources from the creator Dave Pagani and Child Light. God bless him for this amazing gift of educational material!
2 pages of ideas on how to use the North Pole adventure set within families, classrooms and special programs
Museums & Links Child Light is grateful for the help and cooperation it has received from Edward Peary Stafford, grandson of Robert E. Peary, and J E. Henson Sr., Esq., great nephew of Matthew A. Henson in the development of this set.
Coloring Pages The pictures below can be downloaded as letter size coloring pages.
First Steps to the North Pole Quiz Game Here is a board game that you are free to download and copy. You will need to provide your own die or spinner and markers.
4 different EXERCISES & REVIEWS Here are reviews, exercises and answer keys you are free to download and copy.
Maps and Pictures Here are maps and pictures you are free to download and use in your classroom. You may not reproduce or use any file marked with a © for any commercial purpose.

Laila Henson and
family visit family in USA

Laila Henson, daughter of Vittus Henson

The Henson family has a reunion this year in Maryland. The Vittus Henson family raised some funds from foundations in Greenland to fly over and some of us donated to help with expenses. This website donated $500.

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000
From: juaat
Subject: Greeting from Greenland
To: Bradley Robinson
Dear Bradley
:o) We would like to thank you very much for the money 500$ that you gave us. We thank you all of our heart. We will arrive to New York the 23rd.July, we will be there and staying overnight, then we will continue traveling to Washington DC, you must remember that we wrote that we would like to stay in New York in five days, but then we heard about the prices of hotels in New York, we change our plans, we didn't thought it would be so expensiv to be in New York. Anyway, no mather how short we'll stay in New York, it will worth it to have been in the worlds famous city, The Big Apple :o) We will travel back to Greenland from Washington DC the 29th.July. We will be in USA in only a week, but it would worth it too. And unfortunately we will stay at the reunion in 1 1/2 day, because we have to depart on the 29.th July, we would like to stay there much longer, but there are so many reasons. Laila and her family will move to Denmark the 31st.July, they will be there in 3 years. So maybe it's the last time we(Laila and Aviaq ) write to you for a long time. But we will check the website you've made in once in a while, and will write a little greetings-email :o) You were a very helpfull for us, thank you very much. We are sorry, we haven't call you again, we could'nt find any transolators. Well, thank you and good luck. Huck your cute cat from us

:o) Love, Laila & Aviaq Henson, Nuuk-Greenland.


Restored photos
from 1910 Hamptons Magazine - Peary's series of articles about his trip to the North Pole with Matt. Here are 2 maps restored and colorized that have not been seen in 90 years.

 

 

 

July 17, 1910 Boston American Newspaper

It was my boy O-tah who disclosed to me that Peary was to leave me behind in the final few miles to the Pole, and with E-tig-wah he witnesses the disappointment of Commander Peary.... Our camp itself was practically situated on "the top of the earth." For the crime of being present when the Pole was reached Commander Peary has ignored me ever since.After twenty-two years of close companionship he refused even to say good bye when we separated in New York.


Matt Tells Real Story!

Washington Post reviews Lisa McCall play

The Washington Post covered the December debut of Lisa McCall's fifth graders staring in "Ahdoolo" - The Story of Matthew Henson. Click the picture to read their coverage of the production.

Henson play is big hit! Now it's online! Teacher's curriculum for the Lisa McCall play
Aviaq Henson in Qaanaaq, Greenland

Aviaq sent us film of her Northern Greenland family. Pictured at right is, I believe, Ajako Henson. Can't be sure until she writes or emails to tell us who everyone is. Email is infrequent. Visit the new page of photos to see the other examples of her natural photographic talent.
Matt Puzzle - For kids?

I bought two! Who says these are for ages 3-6? How come they get to have all the fun?

This 24-piece, full color, giant print puzzle of the Matthew Henson, first American to reach the North Pole, is an extra large 24" x 33" size. Made of durable board, these puzzle pieces are easy for little hands to manipulate. Perfect for teaching young children about African-American heroes. For ages 3-6 years. http://www.cushcity.com/puzzles101.htm

<click for a large view>

Color photos of the Arctic
Bradley picked up this Corel CD of Arctic photography at an Ebay auction for $12. A few hours of Photoshop work produced these enchanting images of the magical northern realms. See polar bears, igloos, seals, icebergs, dog teams, and more!
Henson educational items
An historical play set featuring Henson & Peary has been produced by David Pagani of Childlight. It has an igloo, dog team, sleds, and detailed renderings of Matt and Commander Peary. Childlight (childlight.com) makes a series of these 5-inch tall human figures with accompanying buildings accessories, etc. There is a Paul Revere set, Harriet Tubman, and several others. Due in January, 2000

There is a Matthew Henson comic book that accurately portrays the explorer's life. Publisher Hiram Fitzgerald sells back inventory from the original 1969 printing. Visit his site (golden-legacy.com) to order a set of 16 comics about famous African Americans - the Golden Legacy History Series. Order sets now for Black History Month.

Matthew Henson Movie

The Delroy Lindo film about Matthew Henson is now readily available for about $12 a copy.

Buy a copy for a kid and give him a hero for life. Donate one to your local library, school, etc.

A wonderful film!

Geographic Century: Matthew Henson  Click to download Real Audio file  As part of our National Geographic Century series NPR's Alex Chadwick profiles Matthew Henson one of the unsung heroes who went to the North Pole with Admiral Perry. (6:42) On May 17, 1999 National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast this excellent program on their Morning Edition show. , Allen Counter and others talk about Matt. Get the free plug in if your browser doesn't already have it installed.

You need the Real Audio plugin for this.

Copyright© 1999 Bradley Robinson

amazon.com videos