Can Monkeys Talk?

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.


Subtitled "A Queer Scientific Experiment at the Smithsonian Institute," the short article describes what it calls the funniest experiment ever conducted by the Smithsonian Institution when an honary curator named Professor Garner used a graphophone to record noises emitted by two monkeys from the zoo at the rear of the Smithsonian building. Garner's hope was to play one monkey's sounds back to the other to elicit a response; immediate results were inconclusive at best, but Garner still hoped to gather enough information to later translate the recorded monkey language.


Garner, Richard Lynch


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography

Contained within

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat (Newspaper)

Contact information

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


September 21, 1890


  • Primates
  • Language and languages
  • Science
  • Monkeys
  • Phonograph
  • Experiments
  • Science--Experiments

Full Record

View Full Record