Shippee-Johnson Peruvian Expedition (1931)

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Biographical or Historical Note

To create an aerial survey of the Pacific coast and Andes region of Peru.

The 1931 Shippee-Johnson Peruvian Expedition, which lasted eight months, including 454 hours of flight time, was undertaken to create an aerial survey of the Pacific coast and Andes region of Peru. It was the first use of aerial photography to locate and document both archaeological sites and geographical features in South America.

The survey covered several thousands of kilometers of terrain, with specific emphasis on prehistoric ruins, lost villages and unusual landforms. Photographs of indigenous people were also taken on the ground.

Robert Shippee was a Harvard-educated geologist and pilot.

Inspired by Johnson's photographs, published in 1930, Shippee raised funds from his family and friends, as well as from the American Geographical Society and the National Geographical Society, to mount this new expedition only a few months after Johnson's return from his first trip to Peru.

George R. Johnson was a pioneer in aerial photography.

Johnson served as an aerial photographer with the U.S. Army in France in World War I; was chief photographer of the Peruvian Naval Air Service and instructor in aerial photography at the naval air base at AncoĢn from 1928 through 1929; and founded the Servicio Aerofotographico Nacional (SAN-the National Aerial Photograph Service). Some of his photographs from this period were published in his 1930 book, Peru from the air.


    AMNH Annual Report No. 84, 1952-53, page 35


Andean regionExternal link

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Johnson, George R. (George Robbins), 1900-External link
Leader, photographer
Shippee, Robert
Leader, pilot

Related Resources

Shippee-Johnson photograph collection
Creator: Shippee-Johnson Peruvian Expedition Extent: Approximately 3,600 photographic material in the form of prints and negatives (23 boxes) Repository: AMNH Special Collections.

Written by: Iris Lee
Last modified: 2019 September 23


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