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    United States Exploring Expedition Collection, 1838-1885.
     
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    Creator: 
    United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842)
    Title: 
    United States Exploring Expedition Collection, 1838-1885.
    Phy. Description: 
    0.8 linear meter.
    Digital Reference: 
    Finding aid to collection
    Bio / His Notes: 
    The United States Exploring Expedition was authorized by an act of Congress in 1836 as "A Surveying and Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Seas." Its commander was Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN. It was prompted by a desire to obtain information concerning an area which was rapidly becoming of interest to American traders and whalers. A contingent of scientists accompanied the expedition, including Charles Pickering, Titian Ramsay Peale, Joseph P. Couthouy, James Dwight Dana, William Rich, William Dunlop Brackenridge, and Horatio Hale. In addition to the scientists, two illustrators also accompanied the expedition, Joseph Drayton and Alfred T. Agate.
    The expedition, also known as the Wilkes Expedition, sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, in August 1838. By the time it returned to New York in June 1842, it had visited and explored Madeira, both coasts of South America, Tierra del Fuego, the South Pacific islands, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, the Hawaiian Islands, Washington and Oregon territories, California, the Philippine Islands, Singapore, the Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helen. Wilkes's voyage along the Antarctic coast during the expedition established the existence of that continent.
    During the voyage, the scientists gathered specimens and studied the flora and fauna of each place visited. At various points along the route, specimens were packed and sent back to the United States. Eventually, the specimens were placed in the custody of the National Institute in Washington, D.C., and installed in the Great Hall of the Patent Office. They remained there until their removal to the Smithsonian Institution in 1858.
    Summary: 
    These papers include manuscripts, notes, lists, catalogs of specimens, correspondence, and drawings relating to the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842 and its scientific work. Of special interest are original drawings of fish and echinoderms done on the voyage; Peale's manuscript history of the expedition; original notebooks of the botanist; Jean Louis Agassiz's notes for his unpublished report on the fishes collected by the expedition; Charles Pickering's notes on fishes and echinoderms; and original specimen lists and catalogs kept by the members of the expedition.
    Organization: 
    (1) Correspondence, 1841; (2) Titian Ramsay Peale's manuscript on the United States Exploring Expedition, circa 1874; (3) catalogs, drawings, and other materials concerning the specimens collected by the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1863; (4) manuscripts on the fishes of the United States Exploring Expedition; (5) notes, lists and related materials concerning work done on fish and echinoderm specimens collected by the United States Exploring Expedition; (6) drawings and tracings of fishes, marked "Rejected"; (7) drawings and tracings of fishes, marked "Selected."
    Restrictions: 
    Use of this record unit requires prior arrangement with the Archives staff.
    Subject-Topical: 
    Geology.
    Anthropology
    Botany
    Ichthyology
    Invertebrate zoology.
    Natural history
    Subject-Name: 
    Rich, William
    Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873
    Brackenridge, William D. (William Dunlop), 1810-1893.
    Pickering, Charles, 1805-1878
    Peale, Titian Ramsay, 1799-1885
    Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877
    Couthouy, Joseph Pitty, 1808-1864
    Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895
    Hale, Horatio, 1817-1896
    Drayton, Joseph
    Agate, Alfred T., 1812-1846
    National Institute
    Patent Office Building (Washington, D.C.).
    United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842)
    Form / Genre: 
    Scientific illustrations
    Repository Loc: 
    Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520
    Local Number: 
    SIA RU007186
    Item Information
    No Item Information

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