National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution Expedition to the Dutch East Indies, 1937

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


The National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Institution Expedition to the Dutch East Indies was a joint venture focused on collecting live animals for the National Zoological Park (NZP) from January to September 1937. Expedition personnel included William M. Mann, Director of NZP; Lucile Quarry Mann; Maynard Owen Williams, Chief of the National Geographic Society (NGS) Foreign Editorial Staff; Roy Jennier, Assistant Head Keeper; Malcolm Davis, Head Keeper; and Layang Gaddi Sang, Zoological Collector. The expedition departed from Seattle on January 19 and headed to Sumatra. Before reaching the East Indies, the Manns made stops in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. On March 2nd, they arrived in Belawan on the north coast of Sumatra. Their stay in the Dutch East Indies [Indonesia] included visits to British India, Malay, and Siam [Thailand]. The expedition returned to Washington, D.C. in September after a long and arduous journey in which some of the collected animals died. Collectors obtained 879 live specimens representing 169 species of animals, birds and reptiles, including orangutans, birds of paradise, an alligator, and cobras. The expedition also returned with 28 animals intended for other local zoos.


  • Mann, Lucile Q. "Ark From Asia" 1938. (Unpublished mss)
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1937, pages 1, 4, 71
  • Hanson, E. (2002). Animal attractions: Nature on display in American zoos. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Date Range

1937 - 1937


  • Zoos
  • Animals
  • Zoology
  • Birds
  • Wild animal collecting
  • Ornithology


  • Asia, Southeastern
  • China
  • Japan
  • Sumatra
  • Belawan
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • India


Expedition name