Manufactured by
American Watch Company, American, 1850 - 1957
Used by
Henson, Matthew A., American, 1866 - 1955
Subject of
Henson, Matthew A., American, 1866 - 1955
Peary, Robert E., American, 1856 - 1920
1888-1889; inscribed 1908 or 1909
nickel , metal and glass
H x W x D: 3 1/4 × 2 1/4 × 3/4 in. (8.3 × 5.7 × 1.9 cm)
An engraved watch that is believed to be the watch carried by Matthew Henson (1866-1955) on his exploration of the North Pole along with Adm. Robert E. Peary from July 6, 1908 to April 23, 1909. Henson is an iconic figure among American pioneering explorers. During the 1908-09 expedition led by Admiral Peary (whom he assisted on several Arctic expeditions over a 20-year period), Henson became the first man to reach the North Pole. For his achievements, Henson received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944. In 2000, the National Geographic Society awarded Henson the Hubbard Metal – its highest award.
This pocket watch belonged to Matthew Henson and is engraved with his initials. The watch is silver in color and the words [R.E. PEARY / NORTH POLE / EXPEDITION / 1908] are engraved on the front in an Edwardian style. Henson's initials [M.A. HENSON] are engraved on the side. The watch has a white face with black hands and roman numerals. The watchmaker's name [Am. Watch Co. / WALTHAM] is printed in the top center of the face. The inside of the watch is engraved with the watchmaker's name [American Waltham Watch Co.] and the serial number [3639616].
Place used
North Pole, Arctic
Greenland, Cape Morris Jessup, North and Central America
Place made
Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, North and Central America
Personal Effects and Items
pocket watches
U.S. History, 1865-1921
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
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