Accession 06-093, Lantern Slides from the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition, circa 1909-1910, 1989
On June 20, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution concerning Roosevelt's proposed trip to Africa. Roosevelt offered to take two naturalist-taxidermists selected by the United States National Museum for the purpose of caring for specimens that might be acquired. The offer was accepted and eventually three naturalists were chosen to accompany the expedition. Edgar Alexander Mearns was selected as head naturalist and bird-collector, Edmund Heller was to care for the large mammals and John Alden Loring was to have charge of the small mammal collecting.
The party left New York on March 23, 1909 and sailed for British East Africa, arriving on April 21. From there, the expedition traveled by the Uganda Railway to Kapiti Plains where their safari awaited them. The party followed a route that took them to Nairobi, the vicinity of Mt. Kenja, the Loita Plains, Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and up the Nile to Khartoum. The expedition broke up there on March 14, 1910.
The official photographer for the expedition was Roosevelt's son Kermit Roosevelt, although other members of the party also took a number of photographs, especially Edmund Heller.