American Museum of Natural History Logo link: Congo Expedition Main Page

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

Anthropological Objects

Photographs

Publications

Watercolor Sketches

Maps

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.

Anthropological Objects

This site make available over 4000 anthropological objects that have been cataloged (and many digitally photographed) by the American Museum of Natural History Anthropology Department.

Photographs

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]

Watercolor Sketches

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]

Publications

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.

Maps

A collection of maps from various periods of African exploration is available in the map gallery.