Vintage photo of Arctic explorer Robert Edwin Peary (1856 - 1920) - the US Navy officer who claimed to have been the first person to reach the geographic North Pole in April 1909. Peary was granted leaves of absence by the navy to pursue a string of Arctic expeditions over two decades which culminated in his claim that he had reached the Pole. His claim was generally accepted for much of the 20th century after a similar claim by his rival Frederick Cook was discredited but in recent times Peary's claim has also come under doubt amid evidence that he may actually have fallen some miles short of reaching the geographic pole. Peary retired from the navy in 1911 with the rank of Rear Admiral. He is pictured in his Arctic furs circa 1909 aboard his ship the Roosevelt. Photo by DP & Co.