The kitchen of Matthew A. Henson, first known man to reach the North pole


As part of our special America’s Kitchens week, I thought I’d try seeking out some different content – images of some historic kitchens off the beaten path. This is the west side New York City apartment kitchen of Matthew A. Henson — the first known person to reach the North pole on April 6, 1909. A black explorer, Henson was the trailblazer for the arctic expedition led by Robert E. Peary. Henson lived in this apartment from 1929-1955. What a wonderful kitchen, and piece of history. The image was captured as part the U.S. Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. (Details: Survey number HABS NY-5697-A, National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 75001207)

  1. Eucritta says:

    That’s Robert E. Peary :-). And Henson’s wife, Lucy, lived there as well – she died in 1968. Which may explain many touches that strike me as more 60s than 50s – the wallpaper, the wood-grain formica table, what I think is a big floral pattern vinyl on the chair, and that clunky can-opener on the shelf. (I had one of those can-openers, so I speak from experience – and they *were* clunky.)

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