Herbert Deignan on Expedition

ID: SIA2008-2369

Creator: Walker, Howell


Date: 1948

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7006, Box 194, Folder: Deignan, Herbert G

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  • Herbert G. Deignan, curator of birds, is preparing a bird specimen while on the Arnhem Land Expedition. Deignan was part of the expedition team made up of Australian and American researchers and support staff. The expedition lasted nine months and explored northern Australia's remote region known as Arnhem Land. The team consisted of men and women from various disciplines including: an ethnographer, archaeologist, photographer, and film maker. The expedition included a botanist, a mammalogist, an ichthyologist, an ornithologist, and a team of medical and nutritional scientists. Under the leadership of Charles Mountford, the team investigated the Indigenous populations and the environment of Arnhem Land.
  • Earlier, Deignan served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and was stationed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where he collected natural history specimens for the National Museum, along with S. Dillon Ripley.


  • Deignan, H. G (Herbert Girton) 1906-
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Birds
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Biology Division of Birds
  • Arnhem Land Expedition


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Originally published in National Geographic Magazine, vol. XCVI, December 1949, page 746. Image was displayed in the 2012 exhibit, "When Time and Duty Permit: Smithsonian Collecting in World War II," in the SI Libraries exhibit case in the National Museum of Natural History.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7006, Box 194, Folder: Deignan, Herbert G

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Scientific expeditions
  • Animals
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Birds
  • Collection and preservation
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Ornithologists
  • Birds--Collection and preservation


  • Sri Lanka
  • Australia

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and White ; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Person, Candid; Medium: Photographic print

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