Ships, Seas, and Scientists: U.S. Naval Exploration and Discovery in the Nineteenth Century

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


Although this work focuses on specific expeditions, Ponko also touches upon the relationships between the Smithsonian Institution, United States Navy and the U.S. Government in relation to exploring. Discusses naval exploration in the United States and its relationship with the U.S. military and Congress. Includes chapter on Wilkes Expedition (1838-1842), Lynch Expedition (Dead Sea, River Jordan, 1847-1849), Herndon-Gibbon Expedition (Amazon region, 1851-1852), Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere (1846-1852), Page Expedition (Rio Paraguay and Rio de la Plata, 1853-1856), Perry Expedition (China and Japan, 1852-1854), and others, including Western Africa, the Arctic, North Pacific, Bering Strait and China Sea. Also addresses the Smithsonian's contributions to these explorations.


  • Gibbon, Lardner
  • Herndon, William Lewis
  • Wilkes, Charles 1798-1877
  • Lynch, William F
  • Maury, Matthew Fontaine
  • Gilliss, J. M (James Melville) 1811-1865
  • Page, Thomas J
  • Perry, Matthew Calbraith 1794-1858
  • Strain, Isaac G. 1821-1857
  • Franklin, John
  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Glynn, James
  • Ringgold, Cadwalader 1802-1867
  • Herndon-Gibbon Expedition to the Amazon, 1851-1852
  • Page Expedition to the Rio Paraguay and Rio de la Plata, 1853-1856
  • Lynch Expedition to the Dead Sea and River Jordan, 1847-1849
  • United States Exploring Expedition (USEE)
  • United States Congress
  • United States Dept. of the Navy
  • Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere 1846-1852


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes notes on sources, index, bibliography and appendix (ship's data).

Contained within


Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Museums
  • Naval history
  • National Collections
  • Astronomy
  • Museum exhibits


  • South America
  • Bering Sea
  • China
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • Antarctica
  • China Sea
  • Israel
  • Arctic regions
  • North Pacific Ocean
  • Africa, West

Full Record

View Full Record