Smithsonian Institution Archives

Topical Finding Aids to Records in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Guide to Records of Expeditions, 1878-1917

List of Smithsonian Expeditions, 1878-1917
(Alphabetic)

Harriman Alaska Expedition - Bryn Mawr and Smith Glaciers, College Fiord, Port Wells, June 26, 1899 (Photo by C. Hart Merriam)

Expeditions are ordered alphabetically by the name of the expedition.
Notes on Finding Expedition Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Chronologic List of Smithsonian Expeditions, 1878-1917.
Expeditions are listed alphabetically. Full text searching can be conducted by using your browser's Edit/Find option.

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Agassiz-Albatross Expedition to the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Official Name of Expedition: Agassiz-Albatross Expedition to the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Date of Expedition: October 1904 - March 1905

Where to: Eastern Tropical Pacific

Sponsor: George M. Bowers, United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries.

Head Scientist: Louis Agassiz

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The Albatross was a ship designed by Spencer F. Baird for collecting activities in the ocean. There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to further describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7258: Frederick M. Chamberlain Papers, 1899-1909

Primary Bibliography:

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Albatross Philippine Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Albatross Philippine Expedition

Date of Expedition: 16 October 1907 - 4 May 1910

Where to: From San Francisco to Manilla

Sponsor: United States Bureau of Fisheries

Commander: Marbury Johnston

Head Scientist: Hugh M. Smith, Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries, Director of the Expedition

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The Albatross was a ship designed by Spencer F. Baird for collecting activities in the ocean. There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to further describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7089: Paul Bartsch Papers, 1901-1963

RU 7180: Henry Weed Fowler Papers, circa 1920, 1930-1941

Primary Bibliography:

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Alexander Alaskan Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Alexander Alaskan Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1908

Where to: Alaska

Commander: Not found.
Edmund Heller on the Alexander Alaskan Expedition
Edmund Heller on the
Alexander Alaskan Expedition
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

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American Museum of Natural History China Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: American Museum of Natural History China Expedition

Alias of the Expedition: American Museum of Natural History Expedition to China

Date of Expedition: March 1916 - 1917

Where to: Southern China and Rangoon via Bhamo and Mandalay.

Commander: Roy Chapman Andrews, Department of Mammals, American Museum of Natural History

Scientific Assistant:

Edmund Heller, Naturalist

Brief Description:

In 1916-1917, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City sent an expedition under Roy Chapman Andrews to study the zoology of southern China. Yvette Borup Andrews, wife of Roy Chapman Andrews, served as the official photographer. The Expedition hunted tigers near Foochow, then left for the Yunnan Province by way of Hong Kong, Hainan, Haiphong and Hanoi. More detail about the route of the Expedition can be found in the finding aid to RU 7179.
Yvette Borup Andrews with Cub
Yvette Borup Andrews with Cub
- Photo by American Museum of
Natural History, New York
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

Primary Bibliography:

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Baldwin-Ziegler Expedition to the Polar Regions

Official Name of the Expedition: Not found.

Date: 1903

Where to: Polar Regions

Commander: Not found.

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Biological Survey in the Canadian Rockies

Official Name of Expedition: Biological Survey in the Canadian Rockies

Date: 1911-1912

Where to: Canadian Rockies

Commander: Dr. A. O. Wheeler, Alpine Club of Canada

Prominent Scientists:

The scientific team was not detailed.

Brief History:

The Smithsonian Institution sent a small group of naturalists with Dr. A. O. Wheeler of the Alpine Club of Canada to complete a topographical survey of British Colombia and Alberta.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone

Official Name of Expedition: Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone

Alias of the Expedition: Panama Canal Zone Biological Survey Project

Date of Expedition: December 1910 - January 1912

Where to: Panama Canal Zone
Paul Bartsch
Paul Bartsch
(From SI Archives RU 95)

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In March 1904, Secretary Samuel P. Langley wrote President Taft suggesting that the digging of the Panama Canal offered a rich opportunity for scientific collecting. In December 1907, the American Society of Naturalists passed a resolution that urged the President and Congress to make provisions for a Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone, in light of the changing biological conditions made by the construction of the canal (when the ecosystems of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would have the chance to interact). In October 1910, the President approved the Smithsonian Institution's plan for a biological survey. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago had already surveyed the fishes of the Zone with the Isthmian Commission, and in late December 1910, a scientific team from both Washington and Chicago was sent to the Panama Canal Zone.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

Primary Bibliography:

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Borneo and Celebres Expedition

Official Name: Borneo and Celebres Expedition

Date: February 1912-1914, Borneo; September 1914-1917, Celebres

Where to: Borneo and Celebres

Sponsor: William L. Abbott

Commander: Henry Cushier Raven

Scientific Team:

Brief Description:

Due to illness, Dr. William L. Abbott was unable to continue collecting trips to the Malay Archipelago. Through donations to the Smithsonian, he funded this expedition to complete his work in Borneo.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7178: Henry Cushier Raven Field Journal, 1912-1914

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Buffalo Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Exploration for American Bison

Alias of Expedition: Buffalo Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1886

Where to: Montana

Sponsor: Smithsonian Institution

Head Scientist: William Temple Hornaday, Chief Taxidermist, Smithsonian Institution
William Temple Hornaday with Bison Calf
William Temple Hornaday
with Bison Calf
(From SI Archives RU 95)

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In early spring of 1886, it was called to the attention of Secretary Spencer F. Baird that American bison were being exterminated at an "alarming" rate (Smithsonian Institution Annual Report, 1887, p. 5) , and that the United States National Museum had an incomplete collection of bison. Secretary Baird authorized William Temple Hornaday and a party of Smithsonian scientists to secure a complete series of skins for mounting. The Expedition was successful from a collecting point of view, and gathered information on species of elk, mountain sheep, goat, deer, and moose in imminent danger of extinction. "In view of this project," wrote Secretary Baird in the Report of the Secretary for 1887, "more stringent measures of game protection and preservation are loudly called for" (Smithsonian Institution Annual Report, 1887, p. 7).

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Central American Scientific Exploring Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Central American Scientific Exploring Expedition

Alias of the Expedition: A. J. Miller's Archaeological Expedition to Central America

Date of Expedition: May - June 1889

Where to: Honduras, Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Manager: A. J. Miller

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

A. J. Miller, Editor of The Evening Tribune of Evansville, Indiana, began his expedition to Central America in 1889, and wrote the Smithsonian soliciting information on the types of specimens the Institution would most like to have from that region, and requesting financial assistance from the Institution. The Smithsonian was unable to provide any money to offset the costs of the Expedition (in part because it took place outside of the United States), but agreed to look at the specimens and perhaps purchase a portion of them. Miller's party left in May of 1889, but was forced to return in June due to an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the areas they were exploring. While in Honduras, they found a buried city in Olancho, and Miller tried to interest the Smithsonian in assisting with the excavation--scientifically and financially. Miller returned to Honduras in September of 1889. There is no evidence in the Archives to indicate whether the Smithsonian replied or became involved in the excavation.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

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Childs Frick Abyssinian Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Childs Frick Abyssinian Expedition

Date of Expedition: October 1911 - 1912

Where to: Abyssinia (Ethiopia and Kenya)

Commander: Childs Frick

Head Scientist: Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Alexander Mearns, United States

Prominent Scientists:

The scientific team was not detailed.

Brief Description:

Childs Frick approached the Institution in 1911, looking for a scientist to accompany him on his collecting trip to Africa. Edgar Alexander Mearns was chosen. Frick agreed to pay Mearns's salary and expenses, and donate all bird collections to the United States National Museum. This was Mearns's last expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

Primary Bibliography:

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Dease River-Telegraph Creek Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Dease River-Telegraph Creek Expedition

Alias of the Expedition: Lincoln Ellsworth Expedition to Alberta and British Columbia; Telegraph Creek Expedition

Date of Expedition: September 1914 - January 1915

Where to: Alberta and British Columbia

Commander: Lincoln Ellsworth
Edmund Heller
Edmund Heller
(From SI Archives RU 95)

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

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Death Valley Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Death Valley Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1891

Where to: Death Valley

Head Scientist: Clinton Hart Merriam, Naturalist

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7272: Frederick Vernon Coville Papers, 1888-1936 and undated

Primary Bibliography:

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Excavation of Rito de los Frijoles

Official Name of Expedition: Excavation of Rito de los Frijoles

Date: 1911-1912

Where to: Northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sponsor: Bureau of American Ethnology

Commander: Dr. Edgar L. Hewitt, Director of the Expedition

Prominent Scientists:

Brief History:

In 1911, the Bureau of American Ethnology, in conjunction with the School of American Archaeology, began excavations of archeological sites in Rito de Los Frijoles. The artifacts found were of great use in understanding the early distribution of the Pueblo people.

Primary Bibliography:

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Expedition to East Africa

Official Name of Expedition: Not found.

Date of Expedition: Began in 1915, interrupted by the war.

Where To: Africa (more specific information is not included)

Commander: Dr. V. Schuck

Scientific Team:

The scientific team was not detailed.

Brief History:

Dr. V. Schuck went to Africa to carry out anthropological research on various tribes to examine "the negro child in its native habitat" (Smithsonian Institution Annual Report , 1915, p. 10). His work was interrupted by the war.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Field Museum's African Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Field Museum's African Expedition
Kema Forest Showing Trunk of Gigantic Fig Tree
Kema Forest Showing Trunk of Gigantic Fig Tree
- Photo by Carl Ethan Akeley
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Alias of the Expedition: Carl Ethan Akeley Expedition to British East Africa

Date of Expedition: 1907

Where to: British East Africa

Sponsor: Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Head Scientist: Carl Ethan Akeley

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

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Geological and Mineralogical Survey of Texas

Official Name of Survey: Geological and Mineralogical Survey of Texas

Alias of the Survey: Geological Survey of Texas

Date of Survey: 1890 - 1895

Sponsor: Department of Agriculture, Insurance, Statistics and History of Texas

Head Scientist: E. T. Dumble, Texas State Geologist

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The Geological Survey of Texas was established to search for ores and minerals of commercial value, to investigate the geological formations and topography of the region, to look for usable water for wells and irrigation purposes, to gauge the adaptability of the soil to crops, and to search for and develop useful, unknown objects. Geological and organic collections were of secondary importance to the economic features of the study, and were donated to public schools in Texas.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

Primary Bibliography:

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Geological Survey of Panama

Official Name of the Expedition: Geological Survey of Panama

Date of Expedition: 1914- (the end-date of the Expedition was not found)

Where to: Panama

Sponsor: United States Geological Survey/Isthmian Canal Commission (see also the Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone)

Scientific Team:

The scientific team was not detailed.

Brief History:

In February of 1912, Ricardo M. Arango, Chief Engineer of the Republic of Panama, wrote the Isthmian Canal Commission requesting information on the cost and feasibility of a general survey of the entire Republic of Panama. The Isthmian Canal Commission referred him to the Smithsonian Institution. Secretary Charles D. Walcott then directed all further correspondence regarding a general survey of Panama to the United States Geological Survey.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

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Gilmore Alaskan Expedition, 1907

Name of Expedition: Gilmore Alaskan Expedition

Date of Expedition: May 1907

Where to: From Seattle to Alaska

Sponsor: Smithsonian Institution

Head Scientist: Charles Whitney Gilmore, United States National Museum

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In 1907, Charles Whitney Gilmore received authorization from the Smithsonian Institution to travel to Alaska to search for Pleistocene fossil vertebrates, continuing the work A. G. Maddren begun in 1904.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

Primary Bibliography:

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Greely Relief Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Greely Relief Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1884

Where to: Cape Sabine, Newfoundland

Sponsor: Secretary of the Navy/Secretary of War

Commander: Captain Winfield Scott Schley

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

After two futile efforts in 1882 and 1883 to communicate with members of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition in the Polar Seas, and to relieve Lieutenant Adolphus Washington Greely and his command, a new expedition was organized by special act of Congress early in 1884. The Greely Relief Expedition reached Greely and his command on June 22 at Cape Sabine and transported them back to the United States. The scientists of the relief expedition returned with photographs, rocks, minerals, fossils, numerous birds, and a small collection of fish and marine invertebrates. Greely returned with several specimens from his stay, but left most of the equipment and collection in Newfoundland.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

Primary Bibliography:

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Harriman Alaska Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Harriman Alaska Expedition

Date of Expedition: The George W. Elder departed Seattle on 31 May and returned 30 July 1899
Harvard Glacier
Harvard Glacier - Photo by Edward S. Curtis
(From Harriman Alaska Series, Volume I)

Where to: From Seattle to Plover Bay, Siberia

Commander: Edward Henry Harriman

Head Scientist: Clinton Hart Merriam, Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899 was co-sponsored by Edward Henry Harriman, President of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Washington Academy of Sciences. Originally proposed as a hunting expedition, it was transformed into a scientific exploring expedition on the advice of Clinton Hart Merriam, Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey. Many of the specimens collected were deposited in the United States National Museum, including large collections of birds and mollusks secured by Robert Ridgway and William Healey Dall.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7272: Frederick Vernon Coville Papers, 1888-1936 and undated

RU 7243: Harriman Alaska Expedition Collection, 1899

At Lowe Inlet, British Columbia
At Lowe Inlet, British Columbia
- Photo by Edward S. Curtis
(From Harriman Alaska Series, Volume II)

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

Primary Bibliography:

Chief's House, Deserted Village, Cape Fox
Chief's House, Deserted Village, Cape Fox
- Photo by Edward S. Curtis
(From Harriman Alaska Series, Volume I)

Secondary Bibliography:

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Harvard-Smithsonian Expedition to the Altai Mountains, Siberia

Official Name of Expedition: Harvard-Smithsonian Expedition to the Altai Mountains

Date of Expedition: June - October 1912

Where to: Altai Mountains, Siberia and Mongolia

Sponsors: Harvard University/Smithsonian Institution

Head of Expedition: Theodore Lyman, Jefferson Physical Laboratory, Harvard University

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

Theodore Lyman, Harvard University, wrote Secretary Charles D. Walcott in early 1912, informing him of his proposed trip to the Altai Mountains, and requesting the assistance of a naturalist. Ned Hollister, an Assistant Curator at the Museum, was appointed to accompany him and collect specimens for Harvard and the United States National Museum. The Museum received the mammals collected and the Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received all other specimens. The museums agreed to exchange all specimens that could be spared.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

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Henderson Expedition in Cuba

Official Name of Expedition: Not found.

Dates: 1915

Where to: Cuba

Commander: Not found.

Brief Description:

After the Tomas Barrera Expedition to western Cuba, John B. Henderson, a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, made two trips to Cuba to supplement the work of that expedition. One expedition was to Cardenas Bay. Collections included marine organisms, shells and land mollusks.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Hopkins-Stanford Expedition to Brazil

Official Name of Expedition: Stanford Expedition to Brazil

Date of Expedition: 1911

Where to: Madeira Valley, Brazil

Commander: Not found.

Head Scientist: Dr. Brammer, Geologist, Vice-President of Stanford

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7293: William M. Mann and Lucile Quarry Mann Papers, circa 1885-1981

Primary Bibliography:

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Illustrated American Expedition to South Utah and North New Mexico

Official Name of Expedition: Illustrated American Expedition to South Utah and North New Mexico

Date of Expedition: 1891

Where to: Southern Utah and Northern New Mexico

Sponsors: Smithsonian Institution/Illustrated American Publishing Company

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In February 1891, the Illustrated American Publishing Company of New York sent an expedition into Southern Utah and Northern New Mexico. The Expedition was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, which secured permission to work on government property. In return, the Smithsonian was to receive one half of the specimens found. Professor F. W. Putnam, in charge of the archeological and ethnological specimens for the World's Columbian Exposition, also agreed to recognize and aid the Expedition, in exchange for receiving collections to be displayed at the Exposition. (Putnam was the Permanent Secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.)

According to a letter from N. K. Moorehead, a scientist on the Expedition, neither Professor Putnam nor the Illustrated American Publishing Company fulfilled their promises of financial support. Moorehead and another scientist paid the bills of the Expedition, which amounted to $1,900. Moorehead then brought suit against the publishing company and was awarded custody of the articles, plates, specimens, and other assets from the Expedition, and attempted to secure for the Smithsonian the specimens from Putnam. Putnam held that he was never financially responsible to the Expedition, and the Institution decided not to pursue Putnam for the specimens.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

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International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska

Official Name of Expedition: International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska

Date of Expedition: October 1881 - October 1883

Where to: From San Francisco, California, to Point Barrow, Alaska

Sponsor: Signal Service, United States Army

Commander: Patrick Henry Ray, First Lieutenant

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The International Polar Expedition was sponsored by the Signal Service to establish a permanent station for meteorological, magnetic, tidal, and pendulum observation. The Expedition also collected various animal, mineral, and vegetable specimens. The natural history and ethnological specimens were sent to the United States National Museum.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7203: John Murdoch Journals, 1881-1883

Primary Bibliography:

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Koren Arctic Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Koren Arctic Expedition

Alias of Expedition: Koren Expedition to Siberia

Date of Expedition: June 1914 - October 1915

Where to: Kolyma Valley, Siberia

Sponsor/Commander: Johan (John) Koren/Copley Amory, Jr.

Prominent Scientists:

Brief History:

Johan Koren wrote the Institution in February of 1914 discussing his proposed trip to Siberia and requesting that the Smithsonian subsidize two scientists to accompany him--one to make collections of fossils, and another to make a complete ethnological collection of the locals visited by the Expedition. The Institution agreed to subsidize the collection of fossils, in hopes of attaining a complete skeleton of a mammoth. The Expedition left Seattle for Siberia in June 1914, accompanied by Benno Alexander, a collector who served with Charles Whitney Gilmore on his Alaskan trip in 1907, and Copley Amory, Jr., Columbia University, whose collections were to be donated to the United States National Museum. Alexander was subsidized by the Institution with the aid of a grant from the Telluride Association.

Once the Expedition arrived in Siberia, Amory and Alexander were dissatisfied with the living and scientific conditions (they arrived very late in the season for collecting, and complained about the poor outfitting that Koren provided). Amory bought Koren's share of the Expedition, thus becoming the Manager, and sailed to Nome, Alaska, to collect further. There is little documentation of the Expedition under Amory, but according to several letters from Alexander, little of scientific value was acquired due to insufficient means to pack specimens, and manipulation on the part of Amory and Koren.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

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Medicinal Plants Survey

Official Name of Survey: Medicinal Plants Survey

Unofficial Name of Survey: American Medicinal Flora Survey

Date of Survey: 1897 - 1898

Sponsor: Pan-American Medical Congress, General Commission for the Study of Medicinal Plants

Chairman in Charge of Survey: Valery Havard, Chairman of the Sub-Commission for the United States

Members of the United States' Sub-Comission:

Brief Description:

At the November 1896 Pan American Medical Congress in Mexico City, a systematic study of American Flora was instituted. In early 1897 Frederick Vernon Coville sent some 1,500 copies of a circular designed to determine the distribution and degree of abundance of specific medicinal plants to all major botanists in the United States, along with postage for the transmission of specimens to the Smithsonian Institution. The Institution agreed to subsidize the postage required for the transportation of specimens in return for possession of them once the relevant data were collected.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

RU 7272: Frederick Vernon Coville Papers, 1888-1936 and undated

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Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition to Egypt

Official Name of Expedition: Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition to Egypt

Date of Expedition: 1909

Where to: Egypt

Sponsor: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Smithsonian Institution

Commander: Not found.

Scientific Team:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

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National Geographic Society-Yale University Expedition to Peru

Official Name of Expedition: National Geographic Society-Yale University Expedition to Peru

Date of Expedition: 1914 - 1915

Where to: Peru

Director: Hiram Bingham

Head Scientist: Elwood C. Erdis, Chief Engineer, Acting Archeological Engineer

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

This is the Expedition that excavated the ruins of Machu Picchu, which were discovered during an expedition to Peru in 1911 by explorers Tucker and Lanius (Bingham, Machu, p. 1). The Expedition explored and excavated the ruins, collecting natural history and ethnological specimens. The insects collected by Harry W. Foote were deposited in the United States National Museum. Much of the other material was kept by Yale University.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

Primary Bibliography:

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Owen Bryant-William Palmer Expedition to Java

Official Name of Expedition: Owen Bryant-William Palmer Expedition to Java

Alias of the Expedition: Palmer-Bryant Java Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1909 - 1910

Where to: Java

Sponsor: Owen Bryant/Smithsonian Institution

Head Scientist: Owen Bryant

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In 1908, Owen Bryant approached the United States National Museum regarding his proposed collecting trip to Java and requesting that they release William Palmer, Curator at the United States National Museum and an expert in mammals, to accompany him on the Expedition. Bryant agreed to pay his and Palmer's expenses if Palmer's salary was paid by the government. The Smithsonian Institution, in return, mounted and identified the specimens and received the right to half of the collection.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

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Philip Expedition to the Middle East

Official Name of Expedition: Philip Expedition to the Middle East

Date of Expedition: 1914

Where to: Egypt and Palestine

Commander: Not found.

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7293: William M. Mann and Lucile Quarry Mann Papers, circa 1885-1981

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Rainey African Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Rainey African Expedition

Date of Expedition: Arrived in Mombassa on 22 March 1911; left for New York on 16 March 1912.

Where to: North and East of the Smithsonian-Roosevelt Expedition, the Mombassa Region, the Loiti Plains, Nairobi and vicinity, Fort Hall, Mount Kenia and vicinity, Mount Uaragess and vicinity and the Kavirando Bay Region of Lake Victoria.

Sponsor: Paul J. Rainey

Head Scientist: Edmund Heller, Naturalist

Brief Description:

Paul J. Rainey, having planned a hunting and collecting trip to Africa, offered specimens obtained during the trip to the Smithsonian. In exchange, the Smithsonian was to help prepare the specimens. Edmund Heller was chosen to accompany the Expedition, which collected some 4,700 skins of mammals, as well as numerous birds, reptiles and other animals.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

Primary Bibliography:

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Robert Stein Expedition to Ellesmere Land

Official Name of Expedition: Robert Stein Expedition to Ellesmere Land

Date of Expedition: It is unclear whether this expedition ever took place.

Where to: Ellesmere Land

Commander: Robert Stein

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In 1894, Robert Stein wrote the Smithsonian Institution, announcing his proposed expedition to explore Ellesmere Land to rescue Alfred Björling and Evald Kallstenius, two Swedish naturalists lost in the Arctic. Stein requested a collecting outfit for his Taxidermist, George Pollock, from the Smithsonian, in return for which the Smithsonian would receive the collection of specimens to study and retain possession of a set of specimens "equivalent in value to the expense and risk incurred in furnishing the outfit" (letter from Stein to Secretary Samuel P. Langley, March 13, 1894). The Institution agreed, additionally securing the first rights to purchasing any items of value returned by the Expedition. It is unclear whether this expedition ever received the funding it required to take place.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

Primary Bibliography:

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Roosevelt-Rondon South America Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Roosevelt-Rondon South America Expedition

Date of Expedition: October 1913 - 1914

Where to: Amazon Basin

Commander: Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon/Theodore Roosevelt

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

The scientists were sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Rondon was one of the most experienced Brazilian explorers of the time. Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, also accompanied the Expedition. On the last leg of their trip, trying to traverse the River of Doubt, an uncharted tributary to the Amazon, Roosevelt contracted malaria, and everyone on the Expedition came very close to death. One of the native paddlers was killed when a canoe capsized, but everyone else survived the Expedition. This was Theodore Roosevelt's last field expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7472: Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Newspaper Clippings, circa 1901-1928, 1933, 1936 and 1958

Secondary Bibliography:

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Shensi Relief Expedition
Arthur de Carle Sowerby
Arthur de Carle Sowerby
(From SI Archives RU 7263)

Official Name of the Expedition: Shensi Relief Expedition

Date of Expedition: 1911 - 1912

Where to: Shensi Province of China

Commander: Arthur de Carle Sowerby

Brief Description:

During the Chinese Revolution of 1911, Arthur de Carle Sowerby lead the Shensi Relief Expedition to evacuate foreign missionaries in the country.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7263: Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers, 1904-1954 and undated

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Smithsonian Alaskan Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Smithsonian Alaskan Expedition

Date of Expedition: Summer 1904

Where to: Northern Alaska

Sponsored By: Smithsonian Institution

Head Scientist: A. G. Maddren

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

A. G. Maddren left for Alaska in the summer of 1904 to search for and study the Pleistocene fossils of the area, particularly mammoth remains.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Smithsonian Glacier Expedition

Official Name of the Expedition: Smithsonian Glacier Expedition

Date: 1905

Where to: Canadian Rockies and Silkirks

Commander: Professor William H. Shertzer

Scientific Team:

There is insufficient data in the following resources to compile a list of the scientific team.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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Smithsonian-Theodore Roosevelt African Expedition

Official Name of Expedition: Smithsonian-Theodore Roosevelt African Expedition

Alias of Expedition: Smithsonian African Expedition; Smithsonian-Roosevelt Expedition; Smithsonian Scientific Expedition

Date of Expedition: March 1909 - March 1910
Theodore Roosevelt and Elephant
Theodore Roosevelt and Elephant
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Where to: From New York to Mombasa, British and German East Africa, Uganda and Khartoum

Sponsor: Theodore Roosevelt/Smithsonian Institution

Commander: Theodore Roosevelt

Head Scientist: Edgar Alexander Mearns, Naturalist

Scientists:

Brief Description:

Immediately following the end of his service as President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt lead the Expedition to Eastern Africa with his son, Kermit, serving as Expedition Photographer. The Smithsonian, through anonymous private donations, funded the three naturalists who worked on the Expedition in return for the receipt of live and preserved specimens. The United States National Museum acquired approximately 1,000 skins of large mammals, 4,000 of small mammals, and other specimens totaling approximately 11,400 items. About 10,000 plant specimens were also obtained, as well as a small collection of ethnological objects.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 45: Office of the Secretary, Records, 1903-1924

Theodore Roosevelt and Members of the Smithsonian-Theodore Roosevelt African Expedition, 1909
Theodore Roosevelt and Members of the
Smithsonian-Theodore Roosevelt African Expedition, 1909
(From SI Archives RU 95)

RU 74: National Zoological Park, Records, 1887-1966

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

RU 208: National Museum of Natural History, Division of Mammals, Records, circa 1867-1971

RU 7083: Edgar Alexander Mearns Papers, circa 1871-1916, 1934 and undated

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

RU 7472: Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Newspaper Clippings, circa 1901-1928, 1933, 1936 and 1958

Primary Bibliography:

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Sowerby-Clark Expedition to the Shansi and Kansu Provinces of Northern China

Official Name of Expedition: Sowerby-Clark Expedition to the Shansi and Kansu Provinces of Northern China

Alias of the Expedition: Clark Expedition to the Shansi and Kansu Provinces
(Right to Left) Captain H.E.M. Douglas, George A. Grant, Nathaniel H. Cobb, Robert Sterling Clark, Arthur de Carle Sowerby
(Right to Left) Captain H.E.M. Douglas, George A.
Grant, Nathaniel H. Cobb, Robert Sterling Clark,
Arthur de Carle Sowerby
(From SI Archives RU 7263)

Date of Expedition: 1908

Where to: Shansi and Kansu Provinces of Northern China

Sponsor: Robert Sterling Clark

Head Scientist: Arthur de Carle Sowerby, Naturalist

Brief Description:

There is not a substantial amount of information on the background of this expedition, but the records indicate that Robert Sterling Clark, an American business man, sponsored Sowerby's collecting on the Expedition. Sowerby hoped to be hired by the Smithsonian following this expedition, but as a British citizen he was ineligible. The Smithsonian helped to encourage Clark's continuing support of Sowerby's collecting in China, at least through 1922, where the correspondence contained in RU 192 ends.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7263: Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers, 1904-1954 and undated

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

Primary Bibliography:

Secondary Bibliography:

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Stanford University Expedition to the Galapagos Islands

Official Name of Expedition: Stanford University Expedition to the Galapagos Islands

Date of Expedition: 1898 - 1899

Where to: Galapagos Islands

Prominent Scientists:

Snodgrass at Iguana Cove, 
equipped for field work.
Snodgrass at Iguana Cove,
equipped for field work.
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

Primary Bibliography:

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Tomas Barrera Expedition to Cuba

Official Name of Expedition: Tomas Barrera Expedition to Cuba

Date of Expedition: May - June 1914

Where to: Western Cuba and the Colorados Reefs

Sponsors: Smithsonian Institution/Cuban Government

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

In March 1914, John Henderson consulted Carlos de la Torre regarding a collecting trip for Cuban marine mollusks. Henderson's previous work had been in the mollusks of Florida, and he was interested in obtaining sufficient information to do a comparison. Torre took care of the scientific details, and the Smithsonian Institution provided the collecting outfits. The cruise set sail from Havana on May 8, 1914.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7075: Henderson Family Papers, 1868-1923

RU 7089: Paul Bartsch Papers, 1901-1963

Primary Bibliography:

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United States Biological Survey of Canada and Alaska

Official Name of Expedition: United States Biological Survey of Canada and Alaska

Date of Expedition: 1900

Where to: Canada and Alaska (more specific information is not included)

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.
On the United States Biological Survey of Canada and Alaska
On the United States Biological Survey
of Canada and Alaska
(From SI Archives RU 7179)

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 7179: Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918

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United States Fish Commission to the Hawaiian Islands

Official Name of the Expedition: Not found.

Date: 1901

Where to: Hawaiian Islands

Commander: Not found.

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

No records found.

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United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey

Official Name of Expedition: United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey

Alias of the Expedition: United States-Mexico Boundary Survey; Mexican Boundary Survey

Date of Expedition: 1891 - 1896

Sponsor: United States State Department

Commander: Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Barlow, United States Army Corps of Engineers

Head Scientist: Captain Edgar Alexander Mearns, Surgeon and Naturalist

Prominent Scientists:

Cereus Giganteus (Giant Cactus) found on the United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey
Cereus Giganteus (Giant Cactus) found
on the United States-Mexican
International Boundary Survey
(From SI Archives RU 7083)

Brief Description:

The Boundary Survey, when conceived by the State Department, was not planned to be a scientific expedition. Edgar Alexander Mearns, employed by the State Department as the survey's surgeon, wrote the United States National Museum in December of 1891 requesting money to subsidize his collecting activities, promising to donate his specimens to the Smithsonian Institution. Assisted by Frank X. Holzner, a Smithsonian employee, the two collected and returned to the Museum approximately 12,000 birds and mammals, 500 geological specimens, 100 fossils, and 10,000 plants. They also collected a smaller number of fish, mollusks and items of ethnological importance. These collections were classified and described by Smithsonian and government-affiliated scientists.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

RU 7272: Frederick Vernon Coville Papers, 1888-1936 and undated

RU 7083: Edgar Alexander Mearns Papers, circa 1871-1916, 1934 and undated

Primary Bibliography:

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United States Navy Expedition to Guam

Official Name of Expedition: United States Navy Expedition to Guam

Date of Expedition: 1899

Where to: Guam

Sponsor: Smithsonian Institution (scientific collections)/United States Navy

Commander: George E. Ide

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

Primary Bibliography:

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University of Pennsylvania Expedition to Babylonia

Official Name of Expedition: University of Pennsylvania Expedition to Babylonia

Date of Expedition: June 1888 - October 1891

Where to: Constantinople and Nippur (city in modern-day southeast Iraq)

Sponsor: University of Pennsylvania

Head Scientist: John Punnett Peters, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Expedition

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

When Paul Haupt was appointed Honorary Curator of the collection of Oriental Antiquities for the United States National Museum in February of 1888, he suggested to Secretary Samuel P. Langley that an expedition to Mesopotamia would yield a great many Assyrian and Babylonian artifacts. Concurrently, Professor John Punnett Peters was planning an expedition to Babylonia under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. Both were then competing for a fir man from the government in Constantinople, which would grant them access to the excavation sites and permission to remove a portion of the artifacts they discovered. Peters and his team of scholars and scientists were ultimately granted permission, and the Smithsonian partially funded the Expedition. Part of the Expedition collection was sent to the United States National Museum.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 192: United States National Museum, Permanent Administrative Files, 1877-1975

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Winfrid Alden Stearns Expedition to Labrador

Official Name of Expedition: Winfrid Alden Stearns Expedition to Labrador

Date of Expedition: 1882

Where to: Labrador

Commander/ Head Scientist: Winfrid Alden Stearns, Amherst College

Prominent Scientists:

Brief Description:

There is not sufficient information in the resources listed below to describe the expedition.

Records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

RU 189: Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1860-1908

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