Chicago-born Lincoln Ellsworth had experienced his share of adventure --
exploring the Peruvian Andes, mapping the rugged Canadian wilderness, and
surveying the towering Rockies -- when he became captivated by what he called
the "gleam of the Northern Lights over the silent snow fields."
An expert aviator, Ellsworth teamed up with Norwegian Roald Amundsen in an
unsuccessful 1925 attempt to fly over the North Pole. A year later, he achieved
greater results when he and Italian aviator Umberto Nobile soared over the
North Pole in a dirigible called the "Norge" Ellsworth did not limit his
means of adventure travel to flying machines, however. In 1931, he was part of
a team seeking to reach to North Pole by submarine. They did not succeed.
As he reached his mid-fifties, Ellsworth was just hitting his stride. In 1935,
at age 55, Ellsworth became the first man to have flown over both poles when he
flew across the entire continent of Antarctica. During his final visit to the
Antarctic, Ellsworth discovered two uncharted mountain ranges and established a
base -- called American Highland -- on the little-known-of Indian Ocean
During his career as an explorer and aviator, Ellsworth claimed for the U.S. some
380,000 square miles of Antarctica. He died in 1951, at age 71.