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Chester A. Reeds Mongolia Studies papers

Identifier: Mss .R441

Scope and Content

Eleven folders containing drafts of chapters appearing in vol. 1 of Natural History of Central Asia, as well as correspondence between Reeds and other authors of the book regarding the content of the volume from 1932, which was eventually published in 1938. This collection includes correspondence between Reeds and his co-authors as well as drafts of chapters that would eventually appear in the published volume. Material of note includes notes from Dr. Amadeus W. Grabau that propose the theory that humans migrated to the Americas from Siberia (folder 1) written in 1932.


  • 1932


Access Conditions and Restrictions

Requests to use the collection should be made in advance to the Special Collections Librarian, who may be contacted at 212-769-5420 or at [email protected]

Historical Note

This collection contains editorial process for the publication of volume 1 of Natural History of Central Asia. This series of very thick books ran for twelve volumes (though only six were published) and detailed the research and findings of the Central Asiatic Expeditions in Mongolia and China conducted by the American Museum of Natural History in the 1920s. It promoted the scientific findings of the expeditions to a wider audience outside of the natural sciences and history community and made them accessible to the general public. These papers date to 1932 and all pertain to volume 1 of Natural History of Central Asia, namely Chester A. Reeds’s work as one of the editors of the volume.

See also Central Asiatic Expeditions (1921-1930).

Biographical Note

Chester Albert Reeds (1882-1968) was a geologist and museum curator. Born on July 20, 1882 in La Cygne, Kansas, Reeds spent various parts of his childhood moving around the Midwestern United States. He later went to the University of Oklahoma, majoring in geology and playing on the football team. Reeds received his degree in 1907, then went on to Yale for his Master’s (1907) and Doctorate (1910). After teaching at Bryn Mawr, he proceeded to his post at the American Museum of Natural History; officially employed as of August 1, 1912, he remained at the Museum until his retirement on April 15, 1938.

Reeds’s fields of investigation were geology and invertebrate paleontology. He was hired as the Assistant Curator of the Department of Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology, became Associate Curator as of January 1, 1918 (appointed 12/19/1917), and eventually became Curator on January 3, 1927 Reeds also served as the editor for Division I of the AMNH Publication Committee, and in this capacity he oversaw publications when they involved geology and paleontology. Reeds passed away in Ghent, New York, at the age of 86 on October 4, 1968.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Eleven folders containing drafts of chapters appearing in vol. 1 of Natural History of Central Asia, as well as correspondence between Reeds and other authors of the book regarding the content of the volume from 1932.


Eleven folders in one archival box. One series.

Source of Acquisition

2009 gift of Anne Brakman.


Appears to be in relatively good condition, although some papers have worn/damaged edges and show signs of water damage. There is also some rust residue from previously used paper clips.

Related Materials

Chester A. Reeds papers (Mss .R44). The creator of this collection, Reeds has another, larger collection also in the AMNH holdings. It pertains to his editorial work and dates to late 1926.

Roy Chapman Andrews papers (Mss .A51-A54). Andrews was the head of the Central Asiatic Expeditions and one of the authors of the volume these papers pertain to.

Frederick B. Butler collection on the 1925 field season of the Third Asiatic Expedition (Mss. B88). The findings of this expedition (and the other Central Asiatic Expeditions) can be found in the finished publication (Natural History of Central Asia).

Central Asiatic Expeditions papers (Mss .C446). As mentioned above, the findings of the Central Asiatic Expeditions are the subject of the published volume that these papers pertain to.

William Diller Matthew papers (Mss .M338). A frequent correspondent of Chester Reeds and a participant in the Central Asiatic Expeditions, Matthew’s papers are recommended reading for anyone interested in the CAE or publications related to it (including this volume, of which he was one of the authors).

Natural history of Central Asia; v. 1 The new conquest of central Asia: a narrative of the explorations of the Central Asiatic expeditions in Mongolia and China, 1921-1930 ? by Roy Chapman Andrews; with chapters by Walter Granger, Clifford H. Pope, Nels C. Nelson, and summary statements by G.M. Allen, R.C. Andrews, C.P. Berkey… [et al.]; with 128 plates and 12 illustrations in the text and three maps at end. aka The notes and chapters contained within this collection are drafts of the chapters in this volume.

Physical Description

11 folders of typescript and handwritten notes related to the Central Asiatic Expedition.

Chester A. Reeds Mongolia Studies papers, 1932
Multilevel Complete
Stephanie Diorio
Language of description
Script of description
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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
Information for this finding aid expanded on the original catalog record written by Ann Herendeen, 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