Frederick A. Cook
(1865 - 1940)
After earning his medical degree from New York University in 1890, Frederick A. Cook served as surgeon on several Arctic expeditions. In January 1898 he became the first American to visit both polar regions when a Belgian expedition he had joined reached Antarctic waters. Cook helped to keep his shipmates alive while the ship was trapped in sea ice for more than a year; only the cat and one crew member died. Leopold II of Belgium later knighted him for his efforts.