San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[BRCC San Diego Natural History Museum: Research Library]

An Annotated Bibliography of Historical Expeditions and Surveys in the SDNHM Research Library

Expeditions in North America | Expeditions Outside of North America

By Kathleen Derzipilski and Margaret Dykens


Painting of Psittacus ochrocephalus, from Chile, from "The U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, 1849-52."
The SDNHM Research Library contains a rich collection of historical texts and reports of early explorations and expeditions, documenting fascinating discoveries in biology, geology, geography, and paleontology, dating back to the 1700s. Many of the texts are encyclopedic in nature, describing in lengthy detail the new plants, fishes, birds, insects, reptiles and other wildlife encountered, as well as the indigenous peoples. Beautiful maps, illustrations, charts and even photographs enliven the pages.

The following annotated bibliographies of works in our library, with dates of publication from 1784 to as recent as 1948, are not meant to be exhaustive, but merely give an overview of the kind of resources available. For further titles on these topics, check our online catalog.


 

I. Expeditions in North America

"Appendix to the seventeenth volume of the journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, 1859." Toronto: Rollo Campbell. F1060.8 H6N
Volume contains two appendixes:
Dawson, S. J. Report on the exploration of the country between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement and between the latter place and the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan. Toronto: John Lovell: 1859. From August 1857 to November 1858 the party traveled by canoe and by foot to assess the area's potential for settlement, transportation, and agricultural and other economic development. Maps.
Hind, Henry Youle. North-West Territory. Reports of progress; together with a preliminary and general report on the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan exploring expedition, made under instructions from the Provincial Secretary, Canada. Toronto: John Lovell. 1859.
A description of the landforms, waterways, and flora and fauna. Some reports on the habits and customs of the Cree, Sioux, and Ojibway.


"A Biological survey of the Pribilof Islands, Alaska." North American Fauna. No. 46. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1923. QL1 N8
Part I. Birds and Mammals, by Edward A. Preble. Bibliography.
Part II. Insects, Arachnids, and Chilopods
The Pribilof Islands, in the Bering Sea, were known for their fur-bearing seals, blue foxes, and reindeer herds.


"The Death Valley expedition: a biological survey of parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Part II." North American Fauna. No. 7. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1893. QL1 N8
Includes the following chapters:
Report on Birds, by A. K. Fisher
Report on Reptiles and Batrachians, by Leonhard Stejneger
Report on Fishes, by Charles H. Gilbert
Report on Insects, by C. V. Riley
Report on Mollusks, by R. E. C. Stearns
Report on Desert Trees and Shrubs, by C. Hart Merriam
Report on Desert Cactuses and Yuccas, by C. Hart Merriam
List of Localities, by T. S. Palmer


"Natural history of the Tres Marias Islands, Mexico." North American Fauna. No. 14. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1899. QL1 N8
A general account of the Tres Marias Islands, the largest islands off the west coast of Mexico between Cape St. Lucas and the Isthmus of Panama.


Bailey, Vernon. "A Biological survey of North Dakota." North American Fauna. No. 49. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1926. QL1 N8
Part I. Physiography and Life Zones
Part II. The Mammals
Information from several years of field work, with attention given to the transition from native grasslands to cultivated fields. Bibliography.


Bailey, Vernon. "Biological survey of Texas." North American Fauna. No. 25. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1905. QL1 N8
A discussion of the state's life zones and their subdivisions and a report of the mammals and reptiles found there.


Bailey, Vernon. "Life zones and crop zones of New Mexico." North American Fauna. No. 35. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1913. QL1 N8
Field work was conducted throughout New Mexico's valleys and mountains to determine where farm products could thrive and irrigation be used to advantage.


Bailey, Vernon. "Mammals of New Mexico." North American Fauna. No. 53. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1931. QL1 N8
Annotated list of mammals, based on observations from field surveys conducted throughout the state between the 1880s and early 1900s. Bibliography.


Bailey, Vernon. "The Mammals and life zones of Oregon." North American Fauna. No. 55. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1936. QL1 N8
A lengthy report based on field work carried on since 1888. Geography, plant lists, annotated mammals list, glossary of Indian names of mammals, bibliography.


Bentham, George "Botany of the voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur" under the command of captain Sir Edward Belcher, R.N., C.B., F.R.G.S., etc during the years 1836-42 London. 1844. QL5 H66
George Bentham, co-author with Joseph Hooker of the famed Genera Plantarum, was one of the most prolific botanical writers of the 19th Century. This work is of particular local interest because the first 3 volumes describe the stops that the Sulphur made along the California coast, and subsequent collecting trips in Baja. San Diego is described in part as follows, "The vegetation generally is highly aromatic, not certainly always fragrant or agreeable.....It continues to consist of a low shrubby character, amongst which multitudes of quail, rabbits, and hares love to nestle...Cacteae are now common, and three species have been noticed; there are a few lactescent plants, and many of the shrubs have tough leathery leaves..." Lumping California and Baja California together, Bentham described 200 species; also included are beautiful lithograph plates of the plants. The last volumes describe botanizing in "Western Tropical America, from Mexico to Guayaquil."


Cary, Merritt. "A Biological survey of Colorado." North American Fauna. No. 33. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1911. QL1 N8
A survey of the state's life zones and their respective plants, mammals, and birds.


Cary, Merritt. "Life zone investigations in Wyoming." North American Fauna. No. 42. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1917. QL1 N8
A survey of the entire state, including an annotated list of trees and shrubs characteristic of the life zones.


Illustration of rock lobster, Palinostus lalandii, from Africa, from "Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-1876."
Dall, William Healey. "Scientific results of explorations by the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer Albatross." QL5 D1
No. VII. Preliminary report on the collection of mollusca and brachiopoda obtained in 1887-88. Plates.
No. XX. On some new or interesting West American shells obtained from the dredgings of the U.S. Fish Commission steamer Albatross in 1888, and from other sources. Plates.
No. XXXIV. Report on mollusca and brachiopoda dredged in deep water, chiefly near the Hawaiian islands, with illustration of hitherto unfigured species from northwest America. Plates.
A collection of articles that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Museum.


Emory, William H. "Report of the U. S. and Mexican boundary survey." Washington:U.S. Department of Interior. 1857-1859. F786 E55 1857
After the Mexican-American War, the peace treaty called for establishment of the new boundary separating the two nations. It was to extend from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, south of San Diego. The survey recorded minutely the botanical, geological, zoological and ethnographic finds the scientists and surveyors encountered along the way. Many of their discoveries were beautifully illustrated.


Fewkes, Jesse Walker. "The Snake ceremonials at Walpi." Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. 1894. E99 H7 F4
The Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, which occurred from 1886 to 1889, was the first major archaeological expedition of its kind in the southwestern United States. This volume represents some of the field data collected during that expedition, and deals with the snake dances of the Hopi Indians. It is part of the Klauber Special Collections Library.


Fremont, J[ohn] C. "Narrative of the exploring expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the year 1842; and to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-44." New York: A.S. Barnes & Co. 1847. F592 F8
In preparation for western expansion into territory not yet under its dominion, the U.S. government commissioned Fremont in 1842 to explore an agreeable route between the Missouri River and the Rockies. The next year, Fremont accepted his second commission: to seek an alternative road to Oregon and California.


Gray, Asa. "Plantae Wrightianae Texano-Neo-Mexicanae." Washington: Smithsonian Institution. 1852. QK142 G65
One of the earliest expeditions sponsored by the Smithsonian was that of Charles Wright, who collected plants from Texas to El Paso, New Mexico in 1848. Those collections were turned over to Asa Gray, professor of botany at Harvard University and a regent of the Smithsonian who subsequently published this monograph describing the plants.


Greely, Adolphus W. "International Polar Expedition. Report on the Proceedings of the United States Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay, Grinnell Land." Volume I and II. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1888. G670 `88` G7 oversize
Between 1881 and 1884, Greely and his men dutifully fulfilled the commission to conduct scientific exploration and observation north of the 81st degree north latitude - despite appalling hardships brought on by the severity of the location, and the failure of relief ships to reach them. Charts; tables; fold-out maps; illustrations based on photographs; illustrations


Hayden, F. V. "Sun pictures of the Rocky Mountain scenery with a description of the geographical and geological features, and some account of the resources of the Great West; containing thirty photographic views along the line of the Pacific Rail Road, from Omaha to Sacramento." New York: Julius Bien. 1870. F594 H4 oversized
The photographs, taken by A. J. Russell, are presented as a guide to the remarkable geology and geography to be encountered in the western plateau and Rocky Mountain region. The writing notes those landmarks, towns, and mineral resources sure to be attractive to the traveler and entrepreneur.


Hooper, C.L. "Report of the Cruise of the U.S. revenue steamer Thomas Corwin, in the Arctic Ocean, 1881." Washington: Government Printing Office: 1884. G670 1881 H7 oversize
The second voyage of the Corwin took it from San Francisco through the Bering Strait, and into the Arctic Ocean. Text is incomplete, ending on page 146. Illustrations of the numerous islands, icebergs, and Inuit and Russian settlements; reproductions of photographs showing the Inuit and the land.


Howell, Arthur H. "A Biological survey of Alabama." North American Fauna. No. 45. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1921. QL1 N8
Part I. Physiography and life zones of Alabama.
Part II. Report on the mammals of Alabama.


Marcou, Jules. "Geology of North America; with two reports on the prairies of Arkansas and Texas, the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, and the Sierra Nevada of California, originally made for the United States government." Zurich: Zürcher and Furrer. 1858. QE71 M36 oversize
Chapter I: Resume of a geological reconnaissance extending from Napoleon, at the junction of the Arkansas with the Mississippi, to the Pueblo de los Angeles in California.
Chapter II: Geological notes of a survey of the country between Preston, Red River, and El Paso, Rio Grande del Norte.
Chapter III: Paleontology
Chapter IV: Geology of New Mexico
Chapter V: On the geology of the United States and the British Provinces of North America
Chapter VI: Sketch of a geological classification of the mountains of a part of North America
Chapter VII: On the gold of California
Chapter VIII: Construction of the geological map of the United States and British Provinces
Chapter IX: A Synopsis of the history of the progress and discoveries of geology in North America
Chapter X: List of maps on the geology of North America.
Includes folding maps; plates; one woodcut.


Merriam, C. Hart, and Leonard Stejneger. "Results of a biological survey of the San Francisco Mountain region and desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona." North American Fauna. No. 3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1890. QL1 N8
A survey of the region's birds and mammals and their geographical and vertical distribution. The itinerary includes the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon.


Merriam, C. Hart, and Leonard Stejneger. "Results of a biological reconnaissance of south-central Idaho." North American Fauna. No. 5. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1891. QL1 N8
A description of the geography of the region and its mammals, birds, reptiles, and batrachians.


Merriam, C. Hart. "Results of a biological survey of Mount Shasta, California." North American Fauna. No. 16. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1899. QL1 N8
Among the earliest publications relating to the botany and zoology of Mount Shasta. Includes observations on the effects of logging and fires upon the forest.


Osgood, Wilfred H. "Biological investigations in Alaska and Yukon Territory." North American Fauna. No. 30. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1909. QL1 N8
A report from two expeditions: one through east central Alaska, made in 1903; and the other made in 1904 through the Ogilvie Range and along the Macmillan River in the Yukon.


Osgood, Wilfred H. "Natural history of the Cook Inlet Region, Alaska." North American Fauna. No. 21. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1901. QL1 N8
A brief survey of the Cook Inlet region, one of the last areas of the Alaskan Pacific coast to be explored by naturalists.


Osgood, Wilfred H. "Natural history of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia." North American Fauna. No. 21. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1901. QL1 N8
A brief survey of the life zones and flora, mammals, and birds of the Queen Charlotte Islands.


Osgood, Wilfred H., "Biological reconnaissance of the base of the Alaska Peninsula." North American Fauna. No. 24. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1904. QL1 N8
An account of a canoe trip taken in 1902 along the region's coasts and interior waterways. Observations of the Peninsula's mammals, birds, flora, and weather.


Osgood, Wilfred H., and Louis B. Bishop. "Results of a biological reconnaissance of the Yukon River region." North American Fauna. No. 19. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1900. QL1 N8
A report of an expedition conducted in 1899, shortly after the discovery of gold in the Klondike region of the Yukon Territory and in Alaska.


Pallisher, Captain. "Exploration-British North America. Papers relative to the exploration." London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1859. F1060.8 P16
Volume contains two reports:
Papers relative to the exploration, by Captain Pallisher, of that portion of British North America which lies between the northern branch of the River Saskatchewan and the frontier of the United States; and between the Red River and Rocky Mountains.
The expedition was charged with determining whether a practible pass exists through the Rocky Mountains. It made several recommendations along a southern route. Fold out maps.
Papers relative to the exploration, by Captain Pallisher, of that portion of British North America, which, in latitude, lies between the British boundary line and the height of land or watershed on the northern or frozen ocean respectively, and in longitude, between the western shore of Lake Superior and the Pacific Ocean during the years 1857, 1858, 1859, and 1860.
This expedition sought a northern route and pass through the Rockies. In addition to the description of the terrain, the report includes a description of Indian life, economy, and technology as transformed by contact with European missionaries and trader; and meteorological reports and tables.


Preble, Edward A. "A Biological investigation of the Athabaska-Mackenzie region." North American Fauna. No. 27. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1908. QL1 N8
A thorough report of two surveys, the first conducted in 1901 and the second in 1903-1904, through one of the great areas of Boreal America, where "live the last wild herds of that all but extinct species, the American bison."


Preble, Edward A. "A Biological investigation of the Hudson Bay region." North American Fauna. No. 22. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1902. QL1 N8
This 1902 survey attempted to verify descriptions of the region's species made centuries earlier by the Hudson Bay Company and to establish a continuity with the Biological Survey's collections from Alaska.


Sitgreaves, Captain L. "Report of an expedition down the Zuni and Colorado Rivers." Washington: Senate Printing. 1854. F788 U5R
Contains a report on reptiles by E. Hallowell, report on fishes by S. F. Baird and Charles Girard, and report on botany by John Torrey.


Stansbury, Captain Howard. "Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, including a reconnoissance of a new route through the Rocky Mountains." Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Company. 1852. F826 U55
Contains a section on quadrupeds and birds by Spencer F. Baird, reptiles by Baird and Girard, insects by Haldemann; catalogue of plants collected by the expedition by John Torrey, and a letter from James Hall with observations on the geology and paleontology of the area.


U.S. Army, Corps of Topographical Engineers. "Report upon the Colorado River of the west, explored in 1857 and 1858 by Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives." Washington: Government Printing Office. 1861. F788 U5 Locked Case.
Ives was charged with determining the navigability of the Colorado River. By steamboat he was able to travel up the Colorado as far as Fortification Rock. He then took an overland route east to newly-established Fort Defiance, stopping at the mesas of the Hopi on his way. With maps; illustrations from photographs; drawings; and color prints.


Verrill, A. E. "Results of the explorations made by the Steamer Albatross off the northern coast of the United States in 1883." Washington: Government Printing Office. 1885. QL5 V5
In summer 1883, the new state-of-the-art steamer dredged in the region of the Gulf Stream between Cape Hatteras and Nova Scotia. Besides enumerating the species encountered, the report includes observations on the quality of the sea bottom deposits and comparisons to the species obtained during the previous dredging by the "Fish Hawk." Plates.


Wheeler, George M. "Facts concerning the origin, organization, administration, functions, history, and progress of the principal government land and marine surveys of the world, being extracts from the report on Third International Geographical Congress and Exhibition." Washington: Government Printing Office. 1885 QE61 W5 oversize
A survey and comparison of government mapmaking, especially from the nineteenth century; includes a detailed discussion on methods of reproduction used by publishers of maps and examples; index; fold-out maps.


 

II. Expeditions Outside of North America

"An Account of the petrological, botanical, and zoological collections made in Kerguelen's Island and Rodriguez during the Transit of Venus Expedition in 1874-7." Royal Society of London. [London.] 1879. QH11 R88
An extensive description of Kerguelen, a volcanic island in the southern Indian Ocean equidistant from Australia and Africa, from the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, volume 168. Excerpts.


Bergh, Rudolf S. "The Danish expedition to Siam 1899-1900: the results of the zoological collections made by Dr. Th. Mortensen." Copenhagen: B. Lunos Bogtryckkeri. 1902. QL5 B4
A description of gastropod opisthobranchia. Three plates, map.


"Boeroe-Expeditie 1921-1922: résultats zoõlogiques de l'Expédition scientifique Néerlandaise a l'île de Buru en 1921 et 1922." Buitenzorg: Archipel Drukkerij. 1924-1936. QL5 B67
Species descriptions of insects, invertebrates,and vertebrates found on Buru, the largest island of the Moluccas of Indonesia.


Cook, James. "A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean." Undertaken, by the command of His Majesty, for making discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. To determine the position and extent of the west side of North America; its distance from Asia; and the practicability of a northern passage to Europe. Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty's ships the Resolution and Discovery. In the years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1780. Volume I and I,. Written by Captain James Cook, F.R.S. volume III, by Captain James King, LL.D. and F.R.S. Published by order of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty. Volume III. Dublin: 1784. G420 C7 Locked Case
During this voyage, the captains explore the mid-Pacific Islands and the north Pacific coast. Volume three covers their return to the Hawaian Islands - where Captain Cook dies in a skirmish. The party then crosses to North America and charts the coast between Kamchatka and Oregon.


Gilliss, J. M. "The U.S. Naval astronomical expedition to the southern hemisphere, during the years 1849-'50-'51-'52." Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, Printer. 1855-56. Q115 U5
Lt. Gilliss was under orders from the Secretary of the Navy to travel to the southern hemisphere on board the ship "Empire City" to establish an observatory and other buildings necessary for observations on Mars and Venus. Also traveling with him were scientists studying the local fauna. Vol. II describes "journeys across the Andes and Pampas of the Argentine provinces." Contributors include Asa Gray on botany, Charles Girard on reptiles, John Cassin on birds, including beautiful color plates. Maps, plans, plates.


Hinds, R. B. "Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur II" under the command of captain Sir Edward Belcher, R.N., C.B., F.R.G.S., etc. during the years 1836-42. Volume II. Mollusca. London. 1844. QL5 H6
During its lengthy voyage through the Pacific, the H.M.S. Sulphur dredged and trawled for shells along the coasts and island shores.


"Journal of a voyage to North-America." Undertaken by order of the French king. Containing the geographical description and natural history of that country, particularly Canada. Together with an account of the customs, characters, religion, manners and traditions of the original inhabitants. In a series of letters to the duchess of Lesdiguieres. Translated from the French of P. de Charlevoix. Volume II. London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley. 1761. E41 C4 Locked Case
Between 1721 and 1723 the travelers explored the waterways of French North America. Volume II finds them on the Great Lakes, prior to their sailing the Mississippi and its tributaries. The letters are rich with descriptions of the numerous native peoples encountered.


Livingstone, David. "Missionary travels and researches in South Africa", including a sketch of sixteen years' residence in the interior of Afirca, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the west coast; thence across the continent, down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean. 25th edition. New York: Harper and Bros. 1865. DT731 L7 Locked Case.
Having received his medical diploma, Livingstone arrived in South Africa in 1840 to begin sixteen years of service as a physician and missionary. Upon his return to Great Britain, he prepared this book, based on his journals, in which he described numerous aspects of South Africa's people, land, and wildlife as encountered during his wide travels. This edition includes maps, illustrations, and an index.


Middendorff, A. Th. Von, "Reisse in den €ussersten norden und osten Sibiriens". St. Petersburg: 1851. QL5 M6
Book II. Zoology: worms, echinoderms, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, parasites. With 32 lithographs.


Mountford, C. P., Editor, "Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land." Volume 4: Zoology. R. L. Specht, editor. [Melbourne]: Melbourne Universtiy Press. 1948. QL5 A9 A7
In 1948, the Arnhem Land expedition, a joint effort of the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Commonwealth Government of Australia, explored the natural history and ethnology of Arnhem Land in Australia's northern territories. Volume 4 reports on the molluscs, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals found there.


Perry, Matthew C. "Narrative of an American squadron to the China Seas and Japan." Performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the command of commodore M. C. Perry, United States Navy, by order of the government of the United States. Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson. 1856. DS809 F45


"Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-1876." London: s.n. 1880-1895. Q115 G7
The Challenger Expedition is believed by many to mark the beginning of modern oceanography. A true research vessel converted from a Royal Navy ship, she set sail from Plymouth, England in 1872 on a 4 year journey around the world to map the seas, visiting every continent. The research was unusual in that it included collaborations between physical scientists as well as biologists and natural historians. Over 4700 new species were discovered, as well as a plethora of physical facts about the world's oceans. The monumental work of the expedition was published in 50 large volumes, and is lavishly illustrated.


"Report on the zoological collections made in the Indo-Pacific Ocean during the voyage of H.M.S. 'Alert' 1881-2." London: Printed by order of the trustees [of the British Museum]. 1884. QL5 B8
During a four-year voyage, part of which was spent along northern Australia and the western Pacific islands, the crew of the Alert gathered thousands of specimens for the British Museum, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, mollusks, marine invertebrates, sponges, and corals. Plates.

library@sdnhm.org