In honor of the freezing cold winter weather, I'm returning to H. Layton Walker's Twentieth Century Cotillion Figures (Two Step Publishing Company, Buffalo, New York, 1912) for a pair of cotillion figures themed around the then-current news of the attempts by explorers Robert Peary and Frederick Cook to be the first to reach the North Pole in 1908-1909. At the time Walker's book was written, there was a lively conflict going on between the two men as to who could claim the polar laurels. Since then, both accounts have been discredited to varying degrees, but it seems to still be something of an ongoing debate among scholars. There's an interesting account of the two expeditions and the contemporary debate at the Smithsonian Magazine website, which I recommend for anyone wanting more historical perspective.
What interests me about these figures, along with generally appreciating ballroom silliness, is how, as with Admiral Dewey and the Spanish-American War, current events were turned into ballroom party games. It's also worth noting for general timeline purposes that, in a book published in 1912, so many of the figures specify the use of the two-step, which was then on the verge of being swept away by the new dances of the 1910s.
On to the figures!