Pinchot South Sea Expedition, 1929

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 Pinchot South Sea Expedition took place aboard the yacht "Mary Pinchot" under the leadership of the Hon. Gifford Pinchot. It departed New York City on March 31, 1929 for a cruise of about ten months and roughly 7,500 miles through the Caribbean and South Pacific Ocean. The group headed south to Key West, and then spent time on various islands throughout the Caribbean Sea before reaching Panama. From there, they traveled through the Panama Canal and then to several islands in the Pacific. The last destination, Tahiti, was reached on October 15. The party finally returned by steamer to San Francisco. Members of the expedition staff included biologist Dr. A. K. Fisher of the U.S. Biological Survey, Assistant Secretary Alexander Wetmore of the Smithsonian Institution, and Dr. Henry A. Pilsbry from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Dr. Howard H. Cleaves was the official photographer of the expedition, which was also joined by Mrs. Pinchot. Collecting during the expedition was done in both the Caribbean and the South Pacific, and was completed for the U.S. National Museum. Locations in the Caribbean included Grand Cayman, Swan and Little Swan Islands, Old Providence and St. Andrew's Island, from which 57 species were collected. Major sites in the Pacific included areas of Marquesas Islands [Marquises, Îles], Galapagos Islands [Archipelago de Colón], Tuamotu Islands, Cocos Island, and Tahiti. Many bird specimens were collected in both areas, and interesting notes on the habits of birds from the region were made. Additionally, a number of fish specimens were also collected from the Galapagos and Marquesas Islands representing 69 species.


  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1929. (1930).Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, p. 33.
  • Fowler, Henry W. (1932). The fishes obtained by the Pinchot South Seas Expedition of 1929, with description of one new genus and three new species. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 80 (11878) Retrieved from
  • Pilsbry, H. A. (1930). Results of the Pinchot South Sea Expedition, I. Land Mollusks of the Caribbean Islands, Grand Cayman, Swan, Old Providence and St. Andrew. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 82, 221-261. Retrieved from

Date Range

1929 - 1929


  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Ichthyology
  • Mollusks
  • Ornithology


  • Colón, Archipiélago de
  • Marquises, Îles
  • Swan Islands
  • Tuamotu Islands
  • South Pacific Ocean
  • Grand Cayman
  • Isla de San Andrés
  • Isla de Providencia


Expedition name