Division of Mammals, Smithsonian Institution African Mammal Project, 1961 - 1972

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The collection consists of the field catalogs and journals of collectors for the Smithsonian Institution African Mammal Project (1961-1972). Henry W. Setzer, curator at Division of Mammals at the National Museum of Natural History, conceived and directed the project in which more than 40 collectors worked in more than 20 countries across Africa, resulting in over 63,000 specimens now housed in the National Museum of Natural History. Specimens collected mammals as well as ectoparasites.|Collected specimens were primarily Rodentia and Chiroptera, though 208 genera are represented. Collecting was primarily completed with multiple transect lines of snap traps, but also with hunting, roost searching, mist-netting, and specimen purchasing. Surveyed localities included a variety of zones, focusing on Northern Savanna and Southern Savanna biotic zones but also covering the Mediterranean, Sahara Desert, Guinea High Forest, and Southwest Arid, and to a lesser extent the Southwest Cape and Afromontane zones. |Field books are organized by collector and time period. Journals describe most aspects of field work including collecting methods, specimens, environment, and sometimes include sketches to augment text. Formats are often consistent across journals, also including data and tables about temperature and relative humidity readings (usually at 0700 and 1900), as well as phase of the moon.|Countries covered include: Algeria, Benin (Dahomey), Botswana (Bechuanaland or Bechuanaland Protectorate), Burkina Faso (Upper Volta), Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia). Principle collectors include: Stanley B. Akpan, John H. Case, C. G. Coetzee, Ron E. Cole, Richard M. Davis, John E. W. Dixon, Stephen D. Durrant, Julius C. Geest, Piet J. Geldenhuys, S. W. Goussard, 0. F. Graupner, A. Frank Hallett, Alan R. Hardy, Dean E. Harvey, Bruce J. Hayward, Michael G. Hearst, Ted A. Heist, Robert D. Hepplewhite, Dorothy L. Herbert, H. John Herbert, George R. Hughes, A. Kofi, A. V. W. Lambrechts, James E. LeDuc, J. Carl Lingebach, S. J. Liversedge, Tim N. Liversedge, Thomas J. Mclntyre, Alvin L. Moore, Wallace P. Murdoch Jr., Harry L. Norman, J. J. L. Pretorius, Gary L. Ranck, I. L. Rautenbach, Arthur C. Risser Jr., C. Brian Robbins, Lynn W. Robbins, Duane A. Schlitter, Henry W. Setzer, James H. Shaw, Alan R. Silberstein, and Ralph E. Vaden. |Box 1 of images (negatives) has not been cataloged.|For more information about the project, see: |Schmidt, David F.; Ludwig, Craig A.; Carleton, Michael D. (2008). The Smithsonian Institution African Mammal Project (1961-1972): An Annotated Gazetteer of Collecting Localities and Summary of its Taxonomic and Geographic Scope. Smithsonian Institution Press. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10088/7187

Date Range

1961 - 1972

Access Information

At least 24 hours advance notice is recommended to consult this collection. Contact the Division of Mammals at 202-633-1253 to make an appointment.


  • Mammalia
  • Chiroptera
  • Rodentia
  • Insecta
  • Animalia
  • Mammals
  • Bats
  • Rodents
  • Insects


  • Benin
  • Togo
  • Africa
  • Chad
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Mozambique
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Algeria
  • Nigeria


Collection record

Accession #

SIA Acc. 12-444


157 field books (journals and catalogs)

Physical Location

National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Division of Mammals