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

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 Sowerby-Clark Expedition to the Shansi and Kansu Provinces of Northern China, 1908-1910, was organized by American adventurer Robert Sterling Clark as a scientific expedition with the intention of creating a detailed topographical map of the expedition route, study the flora and fauna native to the region, and collect meteorological and geological data. Including the preparations, the expedition lasted roughly eighteen months and went through Shansi [Shanxi], and Shensi [Shaanxi], North China and Ordos desert, Mongolia, September 30, 1908 – January 19, 1909; south of Si-an-fu; in Kansu [Gansu] and Shensi, May-August 1909; Tai-yuan Shansi, October and November; the mountainous district north west of Tai-yuan-fu, Shansi, covering winter months of 1909-1910. In total, the group covered nearly 2000 miles. Along with Clark, other participants included British naturalist Arthur de Carle Sowerby, physician, meteorologist, and entomologist Captain H.E.M. Douglas of the Royal Army Medical Corps, photographer George A. Grant, artist Nathaniel H. Cobb, and Mrs. Adels Sowerby. The expedition collected a variety of mammals for the United States National Museum collection. Other specimens collected included birds, insects, plants, and fish.


Clark, Robert Stirling. (1912) Through Shên-kan: The account of the Clark Expedition in North China, 1908–9. University of California Libraries.

Date Range

1908 - 1910


  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Ichthyology
  • Mammalogy
  • Plants
  • Ornithology
  • Botany


  • Gansu
  • Ordos Desert
  • China
  • Shanxi
  • Shaanxi


Expedition name