150 Years of Smithsonian Research in Latin America

Over the past century and a half, Smithsonian scientists have found a fertile field for collaborative research and exploration in Latin America. 150 Years of Smithsonian Research in Latin America offers a window on the complex and rich relations among scientists throughout the Americas.

 

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William and Lucile Mann

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William and Lucile Mann in British Guiana on a collecting trip for the National Zoological Park William and Lucile Mann forged a natural history career together, combining his skills as a scientist and institution builder with her skills as a writer and publicist.

William Mann ran away from his Helena, Montana, home as a child to join the circus. John Ringling discouraged his interests and advised him to pursue his education. Mann received the Sc.D. in entomology from Harvard University in 1915 and was appointed an entomologist, specializing in ants and termites, at the Bureau of Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1925, he was named director of the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, a position he held until retirement in 1956. During his years as director, he oversaw construction of new facilities for the animals and led many international expeditions to secure animals for the new displays.

Lucile Quarry came to Washington, D.C., in 1918 to work for Military Intelligence after receiving her B.A. from the University of Michigan. She stayed in Washington as an editor for the Bureau of Entomology, USDA, where she met her future husband. In 1922 she joined Women's Home Companion as an editor in New York, but returned to Washington to marry Dr. Mann in 1926.

William Mann first explored South America in 1911 as a member of the Stanford Expedition. He did field work in Haiti in 1912, and Cuba and Mexico in 1912, and served as assistant director of the Mulford Biological Expedition to the Amazon Basin in 1921-1922.

In 1931 the Manns went to British Guiana to collect specimens for a new Reptile House, returning with 99 crates of specimens, including 350 live animals, 128 birds, 21 mammals and 189 reptiles. Mrs. Mann loved the challenge and adventure of field work, despite the demands of feeding and housing hundreds of live animals.

Mrs. Mann kept a detailed journal of the trip and documented their journey with photographs when they traveled to Argentina in 1939. Sailing towards South America ports, they brought with them 20 crates of live animals for Argentine zoos. Dr. Mann and Dr. C. A. Marelli of the La Plata zoo, long time correspondents, exchanged live animals, and Marelli assisted Mann with his field collecting. The Manns returned to Washington with 70 crates containing 316 animals for the National Zoo.