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Roy Chapman Andrews papers, 1987 Accession

Identifier: Mss .A54

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of Andrews' correspondence, manuscripts, and transcripts of Andrews' broadcasts and talks from 1934 to1944. It also contains one folder of family and biographical documents and newspaper clippings received from Charles Gallenkamp, Andrews' biographer, in 1990. The majority of the administrative papers' correspondence concerns requests for speaking engagements about Andrews' explorations, requests for articles, and letters from the public and from companies requesting information, and transcripts of radio broadcasts about Andrew’s and the Central Asiatic Expediton. There is some correspondence relating to the supplies for the Central Asiatic Expeditions (CAE) from Savage Arms Co., Templeton Crocker Pacific Expedition, and William Beebe’s expedition to the waters around Baja, California for the NY Zoological Society. Andrews' correspondents include members of the CAE: Charles P. Berkey and William Wyman as well as other correspondents such as Capt. Robert A. Bartlett, James P. Chapin, Frank M. Chapman, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, George H. (Sir Hubert) Wilkins, William Beebe, C. Forster Cooper, William Mayer, John T. McCutcheon, Erik Nyholm, George Palmer Putnam, Grantland Rice, and Cornelius Wickersham. The manuscripts contained in the collection are handwritten and typed rough drafts with editing marginalia. These manuscripts give insight on the creative process behind the published books and contain information that may have been edited out.


  • 1920-1947
  • Majority of material found within 1934-1944



Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical Note

Roy Chapman Andrews was an explorer, paleontologist, and a well-known figure at the Museum of Natural History. Born in Beloit, WI, January 26, 1884 to Cora Chapman and Charles Ezra Andrews, he enjoyed hunting and the study of nature. He taught himself taxidermy and, being the only taxidermist in the Beloit area, provided preparation and mounting services for local hunters. After graduating from Beloit College in 1906 with a B.A., Andrews sought a career at AMNH, but there were no positions available. He volunteered to work at the museum as a janitor and assistant to James L. Clark and was hired July 16, 1906. His taxidermy skills were quickly recognized and by 1908 he was able to convince the AMNH director, H.C. Bumpus to allow him to collect specimens in the field. From 1910 to 1914 Chapman went expeditions to in Alaska, Japan and Korea, including an expedition from 1909-1910 as a Special Naturalist on the U.S.S. Albatross on a voyage to Dutch East Indies, Borneo, and Celebes. From 1911 to 1917 he was the assistant curator of Mammalology and during that time he continued his education at at Columbia University. Andrews earned his Master of Arts in Mammalogy in 1913. That year he was also member of the Borden Alaska Expedition as leader and photographer. From 1918 to 1923 he became the assistant curator of Mammals Eastern Hemisphere.

Andrews’ most famous expeditions were the Asiatic Zoological Expeditions, from 1921 to 1930, known as the Central Asiatic Expeditions, which traveled to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. During this time he was appointed Curator-in-chief of Division IV, Asiatic Explorations and Research (the title changed to Curator in Dept. of Asiatic Exploration and Research). These expeditions produced major discoveries, including skeletons of the extinct rhinoceros Indricotherium (originally named Baluchitherium), the oldest and largest land mammals known at that time; and the first recognized finding of dinosaur eggs. Andrews' first wife, Yvette Borup, traveled with him and photographed many of his early expeditions. In 1931 Andrews was named Vice-Director in charge of Exploration and research in the Administrative and Scientific branches of the Museum. In March 1934, when his friend and colleague Dr. Sherwood became ill and could no longer continue as director for the museum, Andrews was named Acting Director. The title was officially changed to Director of the museum in 1935. Andrews served as the director until his resignation in 1941.

Along with his travels, Chapman gave hundreds for lectures, was the member of numerous scientific societies, and was presented with several awards for his achievements in the scientific community. September 5, 1935 Chapman was awarded the first significant Sig Medal ever awarded by Sigma Chi Fraternity That same year on November 26th he was awarded the Charles P. Daly Medal for 1935 by the American Geographical Society. Chapman wrote several books including two autobiographies “Under a Lucky Star” and “An Explorer Comes Home” and many articles. Andrews married Yvette Borup in 1914. With Yvette he had two sons, George Borup and Roy Kevin. They divorced in 1931 and Chapman remarried to Wilhelmina “Billie” Christmas February 21, 1935. Chapman died of a heart attack March 11, 1960 in Carmel, California.


1 Linear Foot (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Family documents and clippings Gift; Charles Gallenkamp; 1990

Related Materials

Call number: 51-F v.1 , 2, 3 Title: Journals of expeditions to Mongolia from 1919 to 1930 Author; Andrews, Roy Chapman, 1884-1960.

Collection of journals kept during the Asiatic Expeditions to China and Mongolia, 1919-1930. Also available on microfilm: Archives Microfilm #31

Call number: Film Collection no. 146 Title: The Central Asiatic Expeditions fauna.

Filmed during the AMNH Third Asiatic Expedition to China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. The expedition collected zoological specimens throughout Mongolia, but the main collecting was done in the Gobi Desert.

Call number: Film Collection no. 147 Title: Central Asiatic Expeditions fossils and artifacts. Filmed during the AMNH Third Asiatic Expedition to China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. The film records the paleontological finds of the expedition. The most important is shown first: the discovery of the "perfect dozen" nest of dinosaur eggs by George Olsen, paleontologist, at the Flaming Cliffs of Shabarakh Usu in the Gobi Desert.

Call number: Film Collection no. 148 Title: Central Asiatic Expeditions maps, staff and transportation. Filmed during the AMNH Third Asiatic Expedition to China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. The film opens with animated maps tracing the routes of the expeditions. Members of the expedition staff are introduced as they work in the field.

Call number: Film Collection no. 149 & 150 Title: The Central Asiatic Expeditions Peking.

Filmed during the AMNH Third Asiatic Expedition to China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. Film brought from the U.S. was intended for recording the expedition, but some precious film was used to photograph Peking (now Beijing), the site of the expedition's headquarters.

Call number: Mss .Y55 Title: Exploration tales for soldiers and sailors YMCA lecture series.

Lectures prepared by the American Museum of Natural History for the National War Work Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States. Includes lectures given by Roy Chapman Andrews “Camera Hunting for Whales” &

AMNH Library Special Collections has ca. 4896 photographic prints, including various expedition photographs, drawers 194, 195 and 196; field photographs, 1923, PPC.A63; and public relations photographs, 1921-1926, PPC.A631.

Additional archival material is available in the AMNH departments of Mammalogy and Paleontology.

Roy Chapman Andrews papers, 1987 Accession, 1920-1947 (bulk 1934-1944)
Jessica Fisher
2013 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Finding aid created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2012.
Edition statement
Collection description from Library catalog record written by Ann Herendeen, circa 2004.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420