Cook, Frederick Albert (1865-1940), a United States physician and explorer. Cook led an expedition to the Arctic in 1908 and declared that he had reached the North Pole—a year before Robert E. Peary. Cook's claim was accepted by some but rejected by others. After a bitter dispute, most authorities came to recognize Peary as being the first to reach the pole.
Cook was born at Hortonville, New York, and graduated from New York University medical school. During 1891-1902, he was surgeon and ethnologist on several Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, including two Peary trips. Cook's claim to have scaled Mount McKinley in 1906 was generally discredited. In 1923 he was convicted, although many thought unfairly, of fraud in a Texas oil promotion. He was released from prison in 1929 and lived in poverty until his death.