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Glimpses of Hispaniola

Identifier: Film Collection no. 189

Scope and Contents

Santo Domingo, 1929-1930. The Angelo Heilprin Expedition to Santo Domingo was conducted under the auspices of the museum's Department of Herpetology and Experimental Biology. Its purpose was to collect and "fix" reptiles and amphibians in the field. The fixation process entails injecting a specimen with a paraffin solution that replaces the organism's water. Specimens prepared this way can be placed on exhibition with very little further treatment. This process was used in the field for the first time on this expedition (but is not shown in the film). The expedition was financed by a grant from the Angelo Heilprin Exploring Fund as a memorial to Heilprin (1853-1907), a geologist, paleontologist, and explorer. The expedition staff included William G. Hassler, leader and AMNH herpetologist, Daniel C. Pease, conchologist, Michelle P. Cummin, artist, and James M. Masscer and John M. Bell, assistants. The expedition route included Puerto Plata, Samana and Monte Christi in Santo Domingo, and part of Haiti. The film opens with expedition vehicles driving on narrow mountain roads. Shots of the countryside, mountains, and shoreline are included, as well as interior views of a cave lit by torches. Local inhabitants are seen riding mules, making bread on hot stones, and rowing a boat. The expedition's collecting activities are documented in the remainder of the film. Native boys stand in a narrow stream and catch fish in baskets. A staff member, possibly Hassler, collects tree snails and frogs from a banyan tree; he puts the frogs into a bag. Other staff members collect lizards, probably anoles and jungle runners, and tree snakes, one of which is also seen on the ground.


  • 1929-1930

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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


1 Film Reel (9 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (9 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

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


Original format: 16 mm. print.


Glimpses of Hispaniola, 1929-1930
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
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
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