Asiatic Zoölogical Expedition (1st : 1916-1917)

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Exist Dates

1916 - 1917

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
The American Museum of Natural History Asiatic Zoological Expedition of 1916-1917 was led by Roy Chapman Andrews. The goal of the expedition was to collect Asian mammals and birds to add to the planned Asiatic Hall of the Museum. The Expedition traveled through areas of eastern and southwest China, particularly in the Yunnan Province. They ultimately crossed over 2000 miles on horseback, camping at such varied altitudes as 1500 to 15000 feet above sea level while collecting approximately 3000 specimens for the Museum. (1)

The Asiatic Zoological Expedition is alternately referred to as the First Asiatic Expedition or the First Asiatic Zoological Expedition. The nominal and observable aim of this expedition was to collect zoological specimens to help populate the American Museum of Natural History’s upcoming Hall of Asiatic Life but more importantly, this expedition would also provide a foundation to Andrews’ plans for a series of expeditions in Asia. Building upon the “Out of Asia” theory that was at the time supported by many scientists, including the Museum president Henry Fairfield Osborn, Andrews saw the potential for exploration of the area for evidence of mammalian origin, including that of human life. (2) It was thus relatively easy for Andrews to get the interest and support of the Museum. The Museum provided half of the $14,000 required through the Morris Jesup Fund, and Andrews was able to raise the remaining funds from patrons and members of the Museum. He would ultimately prove to be particularly adept at fundraising and promotion throughout his career.

As China was undergoing revolution and rebellion at the time, they were advised to postpone the expedition. Nevertheless, Andrews and his wife Yvette Borup Andrews made the decision to continue and sailed from San Francisco on March 28, 1916 en route to Japan. Andrews would take the role of general director and big-game hunter and Yvette, as a trained photographer, would act as expedition photographer. Still and motion picture photography proved valuable documentary tools for all of Andrews’ Asiatic expeditions, and among the supplies for this trip was one of the motion picture cameras developed by Carl Akeley of the Museum. (3) The other member of the expedition team would be Edmund Heller. Heller was a naturalist who had been previously been associated with one of Roosevelt’s African Expeditions. He would take responsibility for maintaining the quality of the specimens collected and be in charge of collecting smaller mammals. Other individuals assisted the expedition and many additional staff members were hired locally, including their interpreter Wu Hung-tao from the Anglo-Chinese College in Fuzhou, various English-speaking cooks, and four hunters from the Moso province who were engaged along with their hunting dogs.

Before Heller joined the group in July of 1916, the Roy and Yvette Andrews were met by and went hunting near Fuzhou with Harry R. Caldwell, a Methodist Missionary as well as big game hunter. Caldwell had written to Andrews expressing his desire to hunt together for the fabled “blue tiger.” (4) Although they did not find the creature, many specimens were collected for the Museum. By August of 1916 Roy, Yvette and Heller were headed to the Yunnan Province interior, where for nine months they traveled and collected throughout the region until leaving Bhamo for Rangoon on June 9 of 1917. (5) They had amassed over 3000 specimens, "2100 mammals, 800 birds, 200 reptiles and batrachians, 200 skeletons and formalin preparations for anatomical study, 150 Paget color plates, 500 photographic negatives, and 10,000 feet of motion picture film." (6) They were able to collect such diverse species as serows, gorals, takin, muntjac, porcupines, gibbons, and other monkeys. (7) When they reached Rangoon at the end of their collecting period, there were transportation difficulties so they had to travel overland across India to Bombay to find available shipping. (8) They returned to New York on October 1, 1917. This would prove to be just the beginning of Andrews’ explorations in the Central Asiatic region.

Sources

    1. Roy Chapman Andrews. “Little-Known Mammals from China.” American Museum Journal 17, no. 8 (1917): 524.
    2. Charles Gallenkamp, Dragon hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic expeditions (New York: Viking, 2001), 61-64.
    3. Roy Chapman Andrews. “The Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History.” American Museum Journal 16, no. 2: 106.
    4. Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews, Camps and trails in China; a narrative of exploration, adventure, and sport in little-known China (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1918), 56.
    5. Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews, Camps and trails in China; a narrative of exploration, adventure, and sport in little-known China (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1918), 321.
    6. Charles Gallenkamp, Dragon hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic expeditions (New York: Viking, 2001), 69.
    7. Roy Chapman Andrews. “Little-Known Mammals from China.” American Museum Journal 17, no. 8 (1917): 509-524.
    8. Roy Chapman Andrews. “Little-Known Mammals from China.” American Museum Journal 17, no. 8 (1917): 524.
    Library of Congress Name Authority File: n2001060972

Chronology

  • 1916: San Francisco (Calif.)External link Roy Chapman and Yvette Andrews left San Francisco on March 28, 1916.
  • 1916 - 1917: New YorkExternal link The American Museum of Natural History which sponsored the Expedition is located in New York. The team returned to New York on October 1, 1917.
  • 1916 - 1917: Yen-ping (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Futsing (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Yunnan (province)External link (Expedition Site) The bulk of the Expedition was spent exploring the regions of the Yunnan Province.
  • 1916 - 1917: Fujian (province)External link (Expedition Site) The Expedition began in areas of the Fujian Province.
  • 1916 - 1917: Nam-Ting Valley (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: KolkataExternal link Calcutta; the expedition team traveled through Calcutta on the return journey.
  • 1916 - 1917: Mumbai External link Bombay; the expedition team traveled through Bombay on the return journey.
  • 1916 - 1917: BeijingExternal link Peking; traveled through Peking to Fukien Province.
  • 1916 - 1917: FuzhouExternal link (Expedition Site) Foo-Chow; In the Fukien Province, Andrews and Caldwell went hunting and collecting in this area, searching for the blue tiger.
  • 1916 - 1917: Chang (river) External link (Expedition Site) Yangtze River
  • 1916 - 1917: Watien (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: RangoonExternal link The expedition team traveled through Rangoon on the return journey.
  • 1916 - 1917: BhāratExternal link India; the expedition team traveled through India on the return journey.
  • 1916 - 1917: Chinā External link (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Chang-hu-fan (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Lancang Jiang (river)External link (Expedition Site) Mekong River
  • 1916 - 1917: Hà NộiExternal link (Expedition Site) Hanoi
  • 1916 - 1917: Hainan Sheng (China)External link (Expedition Site) Hainan Island
  • 1916 - 1917: Dali Baizu Zizhizhou (China)External link (Expedition Site) Ta-Li Fu
  • 1916 - 1917: Salween River (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Tengchong External link (Expedition Site) Teng-Yueh
  • 1916 - 1917: MyanmaExternal link Burma; traveled through on return journey.
  • 1916 - 1917: Bhamo External link (Expedition Site) Bahamo
  • 1916 - 1917: The Snow Mountain (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Hong KongExternal link
  • 1916 - 1917: LichangExternal link (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: KunmingExternal link (Expedition Site) Yunnan Fu, main city in Yunnan Province, site of expedition.
  • 1916 - 1917: HuiyaoExternal link (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Ho-Mu-Shu (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Meng-Ting (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Shidian Xian (China)External link (Expedition Site) Shih-Tien
  • 1916 - 1917: Phete (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: Habala (Expedition Site)
  • 1916 - 1917: SingaporeExternal link Traveled through Singapore en route back to the US.
  • 1916 - 1917: JapanExternal link The expedition arrived in Japan and departed for the United States from Japan.
  • 1916 - 1917: ShanghaiExternal link Acquired supplies in Shanghai for expedition.
  • 1916 March 28: Left San Francisco, San Francisco.
  • 1916 July: Heller joined group
  • 1916 August 6: began travel to Ta-Li Fu in Yunnan Province
  • 1916 Mid-November: reached Yangtze River
  • 1917 January 13: Mekong to Nam-Ting Valley
  • 1917 June 9: Left for Rangoon
  • 1917 October 1: Returned to New York, New York.

Terms

localDescription
expedition
localDescription
enhanced
place
San Francisco (Calif.)External link
dates: 1916

Roy Chapman and Yvette Andrews left San Francisco on March 28, 1916.
place
New YorkExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

The American Museum of Natural History which sponsored the Expedition is located in New York. The team returned to New York on October 1, 1917.
place
Yen-ping
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Futsing
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Yunnan (province)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

The bulk of the Expedition was spent exploring the regions of the Yunnan Province.
place
Fujian (province)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

The Expedition began in areas of the Fujian Province.
place
Nam-Ting Valley
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
KolkataExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

Calcutta; the expedition team traveled through Calcutta on the return journey.
place
Mumbai External link
dates: 1916-1917

Bombay; the expedition team traveled through Bombay on the return journey.
place
BeijingExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

Peking; traveled through Peking to Fukien Province.
place
FuzhouExternal link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Foo-Chow; In the Fukien Province, Andrews and Caldwell went hunting and collecting in this area, searching for the blue tiger.
place
Chang (river) External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Yangtze River
place
Watien
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
RangoonExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

The expedition team traveled through Rangoon on the return journey.
place
BhāratExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

India; the expedition team traveled through India on the return journey.
place
Chinā External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Chang-hu-fan
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Lancang Jiang (river)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Mekong River
place
Hà NộiExternal link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Hanoi
place
Hainan Sheng (China)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Hainan Island
place
Dali Baizu Zizhizhou (China)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Ta-Li Fu
place
Salween River
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Tengchong External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Teng-Yueh
place
MyanmaExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

Burma; traveled through on return journey.
place
Bhamo External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Bahamo
place
The Snow Mountain
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Hong KongExternal link
dates: 1916-1917
place
LichangExternal link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
KunmingExternal link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Yunnan Fu, main city in Yunnan Province, site of expedition.
place
HuiyaoExternal link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Ho-Mu-Shu
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Meng-Ting
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Shidian Xian (China)External link
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917

Shih-Tien
place
Phete
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
Habala
(Expedition Site)

dates: 1916-1917
place
SingaporeExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

Traveled through Singapore en route back to the US.
place
JapanExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

The expedition arrived in Japan and departed for the United States from Japan.
place
ShanghaiExternal link
dates: 1916-1917

Acquired supplies in Shanghai for expedition.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

American Museum of Natural History
associated dates: 1916-1917

Parent institution and sponsor of the Expedition, Andrews' employer.
participantIn
Andrews, Roy Chapman, 1884-1960.
associated dates: 1916-1917

Andrews acted as general leader and director as well as the big game collector for the Expedition.
participantIn
Andrews, Yvette Borup
associated dates: 1916-1917

Yvette Borup Andrews was Roy Chapman Andrews' wife and acted as the photographer on this Expedition.
Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History (2nd: 1918-1919)
associated dates: 1918-1919

The 1918-1919 Expedition followed this one. Together they can be viewed as precursive to the Third Asiatic Expedition, commonly known as the Central Asiatic Expeditions.
Bernheimer, Charles L.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Bernheimer, Mrs. Charles L.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Bowdoin, George T.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
participantIn
Caldwell, Harry R.
associated dates: 1916-1917

American Methodist Missionary in Fujian Province, also a big-game hunter who welcomed and assisted the Expedition, traveled with Andrews to attempt to procure the fabled "blue" tiger.
Central Asiatic Expeditions (1921-1930)
associated dates: 1921-1930

The Third Asiatic Expedition, or Central Asiatic Expeditions were the culmination of the expeditionary work done by Andrews in this initial trip to the Asian region.
Colgate, Mrs. Sidney M.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Colgate, Sidney M.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
participantIn
Da-Ming
associated dates: 1916-1917

An English speaking cook for part of the Expedition.
Ellsworth, Lincoln (1880-1951)
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Evans, H.G.
associated dates: 1916-1917

Worked for the British American Tobacco Company, acted as expedition banker, based in Ta-Li Fu.
Ford, James B.
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Frick, Childs (1883-1965)
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Frick, Henry Clay (1849-1919)
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
participantIn
Heller, Edmund
associated dates: 1916-1917

Heller was a zoologist and naturalist who joined the Expedition. He was responsible for the smaller mammal collections as well as the preservation of the specimens. Heller had previously been associated with the Field Museum and the Smithsonian and gone on expeditions with Akeley and Roosevelt.
participantIn
Hotenfa
associated dates: 1916-1917

One of four Moso hunters who, along with their pack of hunting dogs, accompanied the Expedition. Hotenfa openly grieved when the lead dog died during an attack.
Joline, Mrs. Adrian Hoffman
associated dates: 1916-1917

sponsor
Kellogg, Claude R.
associated dates: 1916-1917

Worked at the Anglo-Chinese College in Foochow, assisted the Expedition greatly in acquiring supplies and staff.
Koo, Wellington
associated dates: 1916-1917

Chinese minister to the United States who advised them to postpone the trip due to the political environment in the region.
Osborn, Henry Fairfield (1887-1935)
associated dates: 1916-1917

AMNH president, he was extremely supportive of the Asiatic Expeditions. Further, Osborn was a vocal advocate of the Out of Asia theory.
participantIn
Wu Hung-tao
associated dates: 1916-1917

Chinese Interpreter, head "boy" and general field manager; native of Foochow, studied English at the Anglo-Chinese College there.

Related Resources

subjectOf
The diary of Edmund Heller, October 9, 1917-January 12, 1918 : covering his return trip from the First Asiatic Expedition led by Roy Chapman Andrews of the American Museum of Natural History.
associated dates: 1917-1918

Creator: Heller, Edmund, 1875-1939. Extent: 1 v. (ca. 132 p.) ; 16 cm., 1 box (0.25 linear feet) Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .H45 1918
subjectOf
Frontiers of a forbidden land [videorecording.]
associated dates: 1916-1917

Creator: Yvette Borup Andrews, photographer. Extent: 1 videocassette (36 min.) : si., b&w ; 3/4 in. Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Film Collection no. 151.

Written by: Kendra Meyer
Last modified: 2016 November 10


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