United States North Pacific Exploring Expedition, (1853-1856) Records, 1852-1861 and undated

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This collection documents the natural history work of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition and consists of correspondence and notes, manuscripts, and drawings by William Stimpson on the crustacea collections made on the expedition. Also included is Stimpson's journal of the expedition.|The North Pacific Exploring Expedition, 1853-1856, was organized by the United States Navy Department to conduct a naval and commercial survey of those parts of Bering Straits, the North Pacific Ocean and the China Seas frequented by American whaling ships and by trading vessels in their routes between the United States and China. Captain Cadwalader Ringgold was placed in command of the expedition, which departed from Norfolk, Virginia, in June 1853. After Ringgold was recalled to the United States in 1854, Captain John Rogers assumed command for the remainder of the expedition. The expedition explored along the coasts of China and Japan, Madeira Island, the California coast, and Tahiti before returning via the Cape of Good Hope in 1856. Extensive natural history collections were made on the expedition, mostly by William Stimpson, Chief Zoologist. Other naturalists serving on the expedition included Alfred H. Ames, Assistant Naturalist, and Charles Wright, Botanist.

Date Range

1852-1861 and undated

Access Information

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  • Aves
  • Mollusca
  • Reptilia
  • Animalia
  • Plantae
  • Birds
  • Mollusks
  • Plants
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Invertebrates
  • Fish


  • Hong Kong
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Japan
  • California
  • Société, Îles de la
  • Ryukyu Islands
  • Ogasawara-gunto
  • Madeira
  • Coral Sea
  • South Africa
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Tahiti
  • Norfolk


Collection record

Accession #

SIA RU007253


7 field books (1 diary, specimen lists, and correspondence)

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives