The American Museum of Natural History sponsored an expedition
to the Belgian Congo with Herbert Lang leading the expedition
and James P. Chapin as his assistant. Between 1909-1915, Lang
and Chapin collected nearly 23000 vertebrate specimens and over
100,000 invertebrates. They also collected thousands of anthropological
objects and took thousands of photographs in the field.
Field Notes and Specimen Data
Lang and Chapin kept field notes of the date, place, measurements,
and occasionally the circumstances of the collection of the specimens
and objects they collected.
Their field notebooks were organized into the following categories:
Birds (8 volumes)
Large Mammals (5 volumes)
Small Mammals (2 volumes)
Fishes (1 volume)
Anthropology (3 volumes)
The volumes on invertebrates have not been located. The field
notes have been transcribed and entered into a database that may
be searched through this site. Images of the pages of the field
notebooks are also presented. In the field notebooks, specimens
or artifacts were assigned field numbers. Field notebook entries
are discrete units of text corresponding to each of these field
numbers. Many of these specimens and artifacts, when returned
to AMNH, were then assigned AMNH catalog numbers. Both the field
notes and data from these specimen
catalogs are searchable through the site.
This site make available over 4000
anthropological objects that have been cataloged (and many
digitally photographed) by the American Museum of Natural History
Lang took 9890 photographs of which over 8000 survive. More than
2200 if these photographs have been digitized to date and are
searchable on this site. More will be added to the site over time.
[link to search]
Chapin executed 98 watercolor sketches in the field of various
birds, reptiles, mammals, and decorative patterns on the houses
of the native peoples. These may be viewed in the watercolor gallery.
[link to watercolor gallery]
This site also includes digital editions of 160 publications
including 119 publications of the American Museum of Natural History
based on the material collected by the 1909-1915 Congo Expedition,
12 publications of the British Museum on Congo ants by Barry Bolton,
12 publications on African ants of the South African Museum and
affiliated organizations, and 17 publications of the IUCN (the
World Conservation Union) relating to the Congo. The full text
of these publications is searchable. All headings (text that is
centered and in boldface) have been indexed for faster and more
targeted searching. [link to scientific publications] A list of
other publications relating to fauna of the Congo region taken
from the Zoological Records
is available on the site.
A collection of maps from various periods of African exploration
is available in the map gallery.