Did you know? Masonic Philately

Sir George Cathcart No. 617

Matthew Alexander Henson (1866 -1955)




American black explorer who accompanied Robert E. Peary on most of his expeditions,

Including that to the North Pole in 1909.

Orphaned as a youth, Henson went to sea as a cabin boy on the sailing ship Katie Hines.

Later, while working in a store in Washington D.C. he met Peary, who hired him as a valet for his next expedition to Nicaragua (1888)

Peary, impressed with Hensons ability and resourcefulness employed him as an attendant on his seven subsequent expeditions to the Arctic.


In 1909 Peary & Henson accompanied by four Eskimos became the first men to reach the North Pole. The rest of the crew having turned back earlier.


Hensons account of the journey "A Negro Explorer at the North Pole" appeared in 1912. The following year, by order of President William Taft, Henson was appointed as a clerk in the U.S. Customs House in New York City. a post he held until he retired in 1936.


He received the Congressional Medal awarded to all members of the Peary Expedition.


Matthew was a "Prince Hall Mason" a member of Celestial Lodge No.3 New York City.


Stamp Issued :- U.S.A.  1986  S.G. 2227.