Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum

Special Projects

Northward: Peary’s 1908-09 Expedition

They were very much excited

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Mr. Peary's girl Bill on her return to Greenland"Bill" chewing a boot-sole (on the S.S. Roosevelt)

When going along very close to the land the Commander spied the tupik of the Esquimaux about 1 o'clock this morning. The color so blended with that of the rocks that it took us some time to see it. Capt. Bartlett blew the whistle which brought them to the door at once. They were very much excited as told by their yells. Seeing that we were going on around the point four of them began climbing the very steep cliff back up/of their house to cross over into the cove where we were to anchor.
    Along the shore could be seen the entrances to the stone igloos, looking like fox holes, from the Roosevelt. These are made of stones and dirt and are for use in the winter.
    Soon on the beach in front of us could be seen 2 more tupiks and large number of dogs.
    We launched our boat, placed in it a tin of bread for the Esquimaux, and rowed ashore. A heavy surf was crashing on the shore which was rocky and very steep. Selecting a good wave we pulled hard together but not soon enough; her bow struck the rocky shore low down and before we could jump out and grasp the gunwhale a wave came tumbling in over the stern. But by hard work and the help of the Esquimaux we pulled up out of the water.
    We now turned out attention to these strange fur clad people. As they ran along the shore to meet us they resembled young foxes in color and in action. They were very glad to see us, specially the box of biscuit which they were soon munching with happy contented looks. They appeared prosperous, being well clothed and a very large number of dogs.
    The faces of the two boys were covered with blood, probably from feeding on little auks of which they had a large quantity.
    Suddenly we noticed that our boat was afloat and now began a wild scramble for the beach. Fortunately she was tied but was in danger of being smashed. With the help of the tribe we succeeded in pulling her up again. The family from over the hill began to arrive one using a cane, having some trouble with his ankle. Miss Bill, the girl whom Mrs. Peary had at Washington, was a married woman of this colony. 

Tupik: tupik is the Inuktitut word for a skin tent (Inuktitut is the language spoken by the Inuit).  Inuit typically use tents during the warm season. 

Miss Bill: Miss Bill was an Inuit girl who spent a year In the United States living with the Peary family. She returned to her community, where she told people of her experiences, and in 1908 was reunited with Commander Peary when he again visited Greenland. These two photographs show Miss Bill as a child after her U.S. visit and 1908-09 when she assited the expedition.

 

Pictured above:
Greenland, Eskimo tupik, woman with head out, unknown date, ID: 3000.32.574.

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