Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History (1934-1935)

Show/Hide All Variant Names

Exist Dates

1935

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Vernay’s trip to Upper Burma in 1935 occurred during what could be called the ‘golden age’ of scientific expeditions, aiming to represent both the indigenous cultural and animal inhabitants of far away regions.

Arthur S. Vernay’s trip to Upper Burma in 1935 occurred during what could be called the ‘golden age’ of scientific expeditions, aiming to more accurately represent both the indigenous cultural and animal inhabitants of far away regions. Vernay had noted that although there were surveys of Burma conducted in the past, there was no evidence of any study north of Singkaling Hkamti (north of the Chindwin River). It seemed only natural to Vernay that he would begin where these studies left off. By the time the AMNH had secured the necessary expedition members and supplies, however, legalities concerning expditions had changed throughout Britain’s colonies due to species conservation practices, reconfigured landscape ownerships, and native subsistence practices. Thankfully these restrictions on big game hunting were of little worry to Vernay and Hopwood, as the goals of their 1935 expedition would be considered a ‘survey mission’ over all else. The wildlife specimens collected would not encroach dwindling poulations, only serve as a representation of established norms. Henry C. Raven’s expertise in both print and moving picture photography along with the experience of the expedition’s members maintained a cultural delicacy in conjunction with ensured minimal impact on the natives, their animals, and their livelihoods. Along with natural specimens, Vernay's 1935 Chindwin expedition also returned with an invaluable selection of plaster 'life masks' of men, women, and children of various ages and Burmese tribes.

Vernay chose a diverse team to include on the expedition along the Chindwin River. Henry Raven, Lead Scientist and principle photographer was on hand to assist in collection and documentation for the AMNH; Major Guy Rowley, who was a former officer in the Indian army and experienced shikari; Col. Randolph C. Morris, an old friend of Vernay, was a sportsman-naturalist, wildlife conservation pioneer, and authority on the big game of India; Stephen F. Hopwood, Chief conservator of forests for the colonial government of Burma; and Charles S. McCann, Assistant curator of the British Museum (Natural History), Editor of the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (a publication Vernay relied heavily on for information on Burma), and established shikari. Sadly, out of the dozens of Yunnanese muleteers, Burmese guides, and other native assistants that helped Vernay and his team explore the region, Tha Det, Raven’s assistant in Rangoon, was the only one to be referenced by name. (1)

Henry Raven spent time aboard the S.S. Rohna with Ranolph Morris in May and June of 1935 en route to Madras, where they arrived on June 30th. During that voyage Raven photographed East Indian passengers in portraits that documented men, women, and children and their life on the ship. Morris mentions their passage on the S.S. Rohna in his article published in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society in April of 1936 (3) following a description of their search for a rhinoceros.

Sources

    (1) Erin Hasinoff, Confluences: An American Expedition to Northern Burma, 1935 (New York: Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture 2013).
    (2) T. Donald Carter, “The Mammals of the Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Expedition, Northern Burma ,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History volume 82, article 4 (1943): 99-113.
    (3) R.C. Morris, "To Malaya for a Rhinoceros," Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society volume 38, number 3 (April, 1936): 438-446.

Chronology

  • 1935 Janurary 8: RangoonExternal link
  • 1935 January 10: Moguang
  • 1935 January 10: Nanyaseik
  • 1935 January 10: Collecting had begun by McCann and Stanford. 110 mules were outfitted for the journey., Nanyaseik.
  • 1935 January 15: Lonkin
  • 1935 January 15: Team visited and explored Jade mines., Lonkin.
  • 1935 January 19: Tawmaw
  • 1935 January 20: Mansum
  • 1935 January 26: Gora
  • 1935 January 26: Trail to Gora crossed the upper Uyu River., Gora.
  • 1935 January 28: Pumsin
  • 1935 January 30: Tasu bum
  • 1935 January 30: At 4200 ft above sea level, this site was the highest point reachech throughout the expedition., Tasu bum.
  • 1935 February 1: Tapa Hka
  • 1935 February 3: Tumri Hka
  • 1935 February 4: DaluExternal link
  • 1935 February 5: Taga Hka
  • 1935 February 5: Visited by Rowley and Morris; located the foot of the Naga Hills, west of the Cindwin River., Taga Hka.
  • 1935 February 7: Lahkaw Hka
  • 1935 February 7: Visited by Morris and McCann, where a salt spring was found in the depth of the forest. Tracks of elephant, guar, sambar, and tiger were also found. , Lahkaw Hka.
  • 1935 February 11: DaluExternal link
  • 1935 February 11: Returned to Dalu., DaluExternal link.
  • 1935 February 12: Partip Gorge
  • 1935 February 12: Trip taken by Vernay, Morris, Hopwood, and Rowley., Partip Gorge.
  • 1935 February 13: Dawazup
  • 1935 February 13: Trip taken by Vernay, Morris, Hopwood, and Rowley., Dawazup.
  • 1935 February 15: DaluExternal link
  • 1935 February 15: Returned to Dalu., DaluExternal link.
  • 1935 February 16: Rangoon
  • 1935 February 16: Hopwood returns to Rangoon, taking with him the specimens already collected and 58 of the mules. , Rangoon.
  • 1935 February 18: Lakchang Ga
  • 1935 February 18: Small party leaves Dalu for a short trip down river. , Lakchang Ga.
  • 1935 February 19: Rasa
  • 1935 February 19: Journey continues down river. , Rasa.
  • 1935 February 20: Janka
  • 1935 February 20: Party divides: Vernay and Rowley continue down the stream in boats, while Morris, Raven, and McCann continue down the west bank of the Chindwin wth the mules.
  • 1935 February 20: Reached at noon., Janka.
  • 1935 February 20: Reached around mid afternoon.
  • 1935 February 23: Chen-ga Hka
  • 1935 February 23: Party reconnects and travels together., Chen-ga Hka.
  • 1935 February 24: Hai Bum
  • 1935 March 3: Sailung
  • 1935 March 3: Sailung is along the Chindwin. Here the party paid off the muleteers and continued the journey in twin dugouts connected by bamboo platforms., Sailung.
  • 1935 March 4: Sinkaling Hkamti
  • 1935 March 4: Vernay and Rowley met the rest of the party here, having gone ahead the previous day. , Sinkaling Hkamti.
  • 1935 March 6: Hahti
  • 1935 March 6: Vernay, Morris, Raven, and Rowley leave for Hahti to visit the Naga head hunters. , Hahti.
  • 1935 March 10: Equipment is loaded onto the twin dugouts and the entire part proceeded down the Chindwin. Collecting was carried on, on both sides of the river.
  • 1935 March 12: Kaunghein
  • 1935 March 12: Camp pitched on the west side of the river., Kaunghein.
  • 1935 March 13: Moklok
  • 1935 March 13: Party spent the night in Moklok., Moklok.
  • 1935 March 14: Munsin
  • 1935 March 14: Phawzaw
  • 1935 March 14: Arrived in the afternoon and continued onward., Munsin.
  • 1935 March 14: Camp pitched on a sandbank. , Phawzaw.
  • 1935 March 17: Tamanthi
  • 1935 March 17: Party took use of Tamanthi's post and telegraph offices to reconnect with civilization. , Tamanthi.
  • 1935 March 18: Sinnaing
  • 1935 March 18: Party traveled down stream collecting on both sides of the river. Sinniang was reached by evening. Night travel down the river was continued with the use of head lamps. , Sinnaing.
  • 1935 March 20: Hulaung
  • 1935 March 20: Maungkan
  • 1935 March 20: Night camp pitched at Maungkan. , Maungkan.
  • 1935 March 21: Homalin
  • 1935 March 21: Kawya
  • 1935 March 21: Vernay and Raven left in small boats for a quick run to Homalin, while the rest of part followed more leisurely (arriving the evening of March 22), collecting along the way. , Homalin.
  • 1935 March 21: Night camp pitched at Kawya. , Kawya.
  • 1935 March 22: Homalin
  • 1935 March 22: Rest of party arrives. , Homalin.
  • 1935 March 28: Mawlaik
  • 1935 March 28: Party boarded a steamer and arrived in Mawlaik in the evening. Here, another steamer was boarded., Mawlaik.
  • 1935 April 5: RangoonExternal link
  • 1935 April 5: Party arrives. (2), RangoonExternal link.

Terms

localDescription
expedition
localDescription
enhanced
place
RangoonExternal link
dates: 1935 Janurary 8
place
Moguang
dates: 1935 January 10
place
Nanyaseik
dates: 1935 January 10
place
Lonkin
dates: 1935 January 15
place
Tawmaw
dates: 1935 January 19
place
Mansum
dates: 1935 January 20
place
Gora
dates: 1935 January 26
place
Pumsin
dates: 1935 January 28
place
Tasu bum
dates: 1935 January 30
place
Tapa Hka
dates: 1935 February 1
place
Tumri Hka
dates: 1935 February 3
place
DaluExternal link
dates: 1935 February 4
place
Taga Hka
dates: 1935 February 5
place
Lahkaw Hka
dates: 1935 February 7
place
DaluExternal link
dates: 1935 February 11
place
Partip Gorge
dates: 1935 February 12
place
Dawazup
dates: 1935 February 13
place
DaluExternal link
dates: 1935 February 15
place
Rangoon
dates: 1935 February 16
place
Lakchang Ga
dates: 1935 February 18
place
Rasa
dates: 1935 February 19
place
Janka
dates: 1935 February 20
place
Chen-ga Hka
dates: 1935 February 23
place
Hai Bum
dates: 1935 February 24
place
Sailung
dates: 1935 March 3
place
Sinkaling Hkamti
dates: 1935 March 4
place
Hahti
dates: 1935 March 6
place
Kaunghein
dates: 1935 March 12
place
Moklok
dates: 1935 March 13
place
Munsin
dates: 1935 March 14
place
Phawzaw
dates: 1935 March 14
place
Tamanthi
dates: 1935 March 17
place
Sinnaing
dates: 1935 March 18
place
Hulaung
dates: 1935 March 20
place
Maungkan
dates: 1935 March 20
place
Homalin
dates: 1935 March 21
place
Kawya
dates: 1935 March 21
place
Homalin
dates: 1935 March 22
place
Mawlaik
dates: 1935 March 28
place
Kindat
Morris disembarked to do some collecting in town, while McCann continued on to Pantha.
place
Kalewa
Steamer stopped here.
place
Okma
place
Monywa
Party disembarked and boarded a train for Rangoon.
place
RangoonExternal link
dates: 1935 April 5

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

participantIn
Det, Tha
Burmese guide and assistant. Tha Det accompanied Raven from Rangoon and is the only guide to have been recorded by name.
participantIn
Fernandez
British Museum (Natural History) employee and Goan specimen skinner for the expedition.
participantIn
Hopwood, Stephen F.
Chief conservator of forests for the colonial government of Burma.
participantIn
Joseph, Gabriel
Colonel Randolph C. Morris' personal Goan specimen skinner, working with Fernandez during the expedition.
participantIn
McCann, Charles S.
Assistant curator of the British Museum (Natural History), Editor of the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, and established shikari. McCann was a botanist and zoologist whose work on primates was known. Vernay referred to McCann as a 'jungle man' for his skills as a hunter-naturalist.
participantIn
Morris, Randolph C.
Foremost sportsman-naturalist, wildlife conservation pioneer, and authority on the big game of India. Morris was also a dear friend of Vernay.
participantIn
Raven, Henry Cushier, 1889-1944
Assistant curator for the AMNH Department of Mammalogy, reknowned expedition collector, and experienced print and moving picture photographer. Raven served as Lead Scientist on the expedition, as well as producing a wealth of research photographs of both native tribes and birds.
participantIn
Rowley, Guy
Former officer in the Indian army and experienced shikari.
collaboratesWith
Stanford, John KeithExternal link
An officer of the Indian Civil Service and an ornithologist who played an active role in gathering ornithological information in Kachin State, largely by enlisting the help of numerous officers of the Burma Military Police and Burma Frontier Service ( http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1525/om.2011.70.1.109 ) Vernay asked Stanford (who was then the Commissioner of the Myitkyina District) to draft an itinerary for his expedition, coordinate logistics, and offer hunting advice based on Stanford's extensive bird collections and research of northeastern Burma.
participantIn
Stubbs, Willie H.
John K. Stanford's personal specimen skinner who was loaned to Vernay for the expedition. He was also trained in hunting and preparing birds according to the preferred scientific techniques of AMNH's James P. Chapin. Stubbs also served as a capable interpreter between the expedition members and various native tribes.
participantIn
Vernay, Arthur S.
New York City-based antiques dealer, AMNH trustee, and field associate for the Department of Mammalogy. Vernay was the expedition's leader and financier.

Related Resources

subjectOf
Henry C. Raven collection
associated dates: 1920?-1944

Creator: American Museum of Natural History. Extent: 2 linear feet (4 boxes) Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .R38
subjectOf
Henry Cushier Raven photo print collection
associated dates: 1915-1942

Creator: Henry C. Raven Extent: 1 linear foot (3 boxes) Repository: AMNH Special Collections, PPC R38
subjectOf
Photographs of the Vernay-Faunthorpe Hall of South Asiatic Mammals
associated dates: 1908-1971

Creator: American Museum of Natural History Extent: 21 photonegatives : b&w nitrate. 1 photonegative : b&w glass. 109 photonegatives : b&w. 138 photoprints : b&w mounted on file cards. 34 photoprints : b&w. 11 transparencies : col. ; 35 mm. Repository: AMNH Special Collections, [no call number listed]
subjectOf
The Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin expedition
Creator: American Museum of Natural History Extent: 1 videocassette (60 min.) : si., b&w ; 3/4 in. Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Film Collection no. 285
subjectOf
H. C. Raven field photographs
associated dates: 1919-1939

Creator: Henry Cushier Raven Extent: 83 prints, 110 glass slides, 33 slides, 75 lantern slides, 598 negatives Repository: AMNH Department of Mammology, MAM 44
subjectOf
AMNH expedition prints made from nitrate negatives
associated dates: 1926-1939

Creator: American Museum of Natural History Extent: 83 prints, 110 glass slides, 33 slides, 75 lantern slides, 598 negatives Repository: AMNH Department of Mammology, MAM 44 Note: Prints from nitrate negatives of Museum exhibitions including Goodwin Puerto Rico (1926), Sanford-Legendre Abyssinia (1928-1929); Heilprin-Hatt Yucatan (1929); Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Burma (1934-1935); Campbell Ivory Coast (1939-1940)
subjectOf
Field Books
associated dates: 1934-1941

Creator: Henry Cushier Raven, American Museum of Natural History Extent: 1 box Note: Journals and catalogs, Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History (1934-1935)
subjectOf
Burma-Vernay Collection
Creator: Arthur S. Vernay, American Museum of Natural History Extent: .05 linear feet (1 folder) Repository: AMNH Department of Ornithology, Orn215 Note: List of birds collected by Vernay in Burma.

Written by: Janine Veazue
Last modified: 2016 November 10


Export

Content negotiation supports the following types: text/html, application/xml, application/tei+xml, application/vnd.google-earth.kml+xml, application/rdf+xml, application/json, text/turtle

Return to top

amnhc_2000326http://data.library.amnh.org/archives-authorities/org:Organizationosm