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Identifier: Film Collection no. 163

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the Field Museum-Chicago Daily News Abyssinian Expedition, 1926-1927. The film was made by Charles Suydam Cutting, with the assistance of scientist Alfred M. Bailey. The expedition party also included Louis Agassiz Fuertes, the noted ornithologist and artist, who was killed shortly after this expedition in a tragic automobiletrain collision. The film opens with Arussi Galla women washing themselves and their clothes in the river Awash. Scientists are seen in camp and, as James E. Baum, a special writer on this expedition, types, an orphaned dog-faced baboon, the expedition mascot, stands nearby. The baboon and a colobus monkey are filmed. Camp scenes, depicting the preparation of skins and horn specimens, as well as the cooking and drying of meat, are shown, while vultures, eager to help the staff dispose of unwanted specimens, fly overhead. The expedition took two days to cross the Webi Canyon, and in that time filmed Gallas going to market, threshing grain, and tending cattle. The Webi Canyon was formed by the river Webbe Shiebeli, across which the expedition members and their animals carry the expedition equipment. A map traces the route of the expedition moving north, passing Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and crossing the Blue Nile, or Abbai as it is called there. On the north bank, in the province of Gojam, one of the chieftains, Ras Hailu, offers the expedition hospitality and, in turn, visits their camp for dinner. His slaves bring gifts and his horsemen perform. Dejazmatch Ayalu, ruler of the Amhara Province, is seen later with his cavalry and his formidable compound. Again, hospitality is traded by both sides. At the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tsana, the expedition splits into two parties. Cutting's party travels northeast via Gondar, visits the ruins of Portuguese stone buildings, and then moves into ibex country, in the Simyen Mountains, where it is met by Ras Ayalu. The film ends here with individual portraits of the expedition members.


  • 1926-1927

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (69 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 35 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (69 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 35 mm. print.


English subtitles.



Charles Suydam Cutting, photographer.

Abyssinia, 1926-1927
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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