was born in cresson, Pennsylvania. At 24, he joined the navy, which gave him leave of absence for Arctic exploration. He made his first expedition to Greenland in 1886 with his lifelong associate Matthew Henson; on his second expedition in 1891 he discovered Independence Fjord and brought back evidence of Greenland being an island. Attempts to reach the North Pole in 1900, 1902, and 1905 all ended in failure. Finally, in 1909 he announced to the world that he had succeeded. That same year his rival Dr. Fredrick Cook claimed to have reached the Pole a year earlier. Cook's claim was dismissed, and Peary's was eventually accepted, in spite of widespread doubt. He retired as a rear admiral in 1911, and lived with his family in Eagle Island off the coast of Maine until his death nine years later.
was born in Washington D.C., the daughter of a Prussian father and a Saxon mother. She met Robert in 1882 when he was an ambitious young naval officer. He proposed to her in 1887 as he was preparing for an expedition to Nicaragua, and the couple married on his return, the following year. In 1891 Jo went with her husband on his first trip to Greenland, becoming the first white woman to have traveled so far north. Six months pregnant, she insisted on going with him again in 1893 and gave birth to their first child. Marie, in Greenland. She went again in 1897 and in 1900, when their ship was ice-bound for the winter. After this Jo stayed at home, raising funds for Robert's expeditions and enduring long separations, often for two or three years at a time. The National Geographic Society awarded her its Gold Medal in 1955.