Terry-Holden Expedition, 1937

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The Terry-Holden Expedition to British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1937 and 1938 explored the northern jungle areas of South America. The trip was commissioned by the American Museum of Natural History. A group of six American explorers left the New York on August 27th and arrived at the capital Georgetown. From there they traveled to Bartica, and began their 500 mile journey by boat on September 29, 1937. Three weeks later, the expedition established a base camp in the foothills of the Sierra Akarai Mountains near the border with Brazil. Here they installed a 200watt RCA shortwave transmitter in a grass hut and established a radio station for broadcast of a weekly radio report back to the United States. The station stayed in operation from November 14th, 1937 to January 15th, 1938. William H. Holden, Staff Surgeon of the American Museum of Natural History, led the expedition. Dr. A. C. Smith served as chief botanist, taking part with the backing of the New York Botanical Garden, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and the Yale School of Forestry. Also part of the expedition team was cinematographer and collector of insects William G. Hassler, herpetologist from the American Museum Mr. Robert Snediger, field assistant Mr. Neil MacMillan, and Mr. Orison Hungerford who was radio engineer of the National Broadcasting Company. A large collection of plants and insects were made during the trip, including a number of stingless bees, 22 species in total. Dr. Smith collected mosses from the Kanuku and Akarai Mountain regions, and a total of 91 species from all over British Guiana. Reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals were also collected.


  • Bartram, Edwin B. (1939). Mosses of the interior British Guiana. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 66(4), 221-230. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2480862
  • Peterson, Adrian (2011). Jungle radio in South America: The Terry-Holden Expedition. Shortwave Central. Retrieved May 7, 2013 from http://mt-shortwave.blogspot.com/2011/11/jungle-radio-in-south-america-terry.html

Date Range

1937 - 1938


  • Entomology
  • Plants
  • Botany


  • Acarai Mountains
  • Guyana
  • Bartica
  • Georgetown


Expedition name