On June 20, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution concerning Roosevelt's proposed trip to Africa.
Roosevelt offered to take two naturalist-taxidermists selected by the United States National Museum (USNM) for the purpose of caring for specimens that might be acquired.
The offer was accepted and eventually three naturalists were chosen to accompany the expedition. Edgar Alexander Mearns was selected as head naturalist and bird-collector,
Edmund Heller was to care for the large mammals and John Alden Loring was to have charge of the small mammal collecting.
The party left New York March 23, 1909 and sailed for British East Africa. The route took them through the Azores, Gibraltar, Naples, Messina, the Suez Canal and Ismailya,
Aden and Italian Somaliland to Mombasa in British East Africa on April 21. From there, the expedition traveled by the Uganda Railway to Kapiti Plains where their safari awaited
them. The patty followed a route that took them to Nairobi, the vicinity of Mt. Kenja, the Loita Plains, Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and up the Nile to Khartoum. The expedition
broke up there on March 14, 1910.
The official photographer for the expedition was Roosevelt's son Kermit, although other members of the party also took a number of photographs, especially Edmund Heller.
Most of the photographs in this series are unidentified as to photographer. Major exceptions are those photographs that were used in Roosevelt's articles for Scribner's Magazine
and for which a credit line is given in the article.
Heller was to write up the descriptions of the mammals taken on the expedition for the Smithsonian Institution, but after a number of delays occasioned by Heller's trips
to Africa with Paul Rainey and to Peru for the National Geographic Society and Yale University, the work was turned over to Ned Hollister who wrote the 3-volume East African
Mammals in the United States National Museum as Bulletin 99 of the United States National Museum.
Within this series there are three groups of photographs. The first is an alphabetical file of mammal photographs. Negatives for these prints are either in negative books
A-E or in Photographic Services files. In the latter case the print will bear a file number by which the negative can be located. The following is a general guide to the contents
of those negative books. A detailed list can be found in each book.
Book A: Mammal photographs and negatives including zebra (1-6); rhinoceros (7-14); wart hog, filed under pigs (15-17); gazelle (18-20, 25-27, 97); topi, filed under damaliscus
(21-22); impala (23-24); hyaena (28-36); Jackal filed under canis (37-39); hippopotamus (40-47, 64-72); civet, filed under genetta (48-52, 98); civet ichneumia, filed under
mungo (53-57); primates (58-60, 94-96); hyrax (61-63, 87, 89, 100); waterbucks filed under kobus (73-74); hystrix (75-79); leopard (80-86, 88) and duiker, dikdik, filed under
madoqua (90-93, 99).
Book B: Mammal photographs and negatives including gazelle (1, 53, 56, 63-70); redunca (2-3); cheetah (4-5); felis, lion (6-9); giraffe (10-20, 58, 82-95, 100); rhinoceros
(21-25); cephalophus (26-27, 55); buffalo, filed under bos caffer (28-40); wildebeest, filed under gorgon (41-43, 51-52); warthog, filed under pig (44-46); kobus (47-49, 57);
gazelle, antelope and hartebeest, filed under bubalis (50, 54, 69); impala (59-61); bushbuck, filed under tragelaphus (62); eland filed under taurotragus (71-81); hyaena (96,
98); zebra (97) and jackal, filed under canis (99).
Book C: Mammal photographs and negatives including rhinoceros (1-17); zebra (18-21, 43-46); cheetah (22); lion, filed under felis (23-26, 47-48); mungo (27-29); jackal,
filed under canis (30-34, 80-85); gazelle, filed under gazelle (36) and tragela hus (35, 37); steinbok, filed under raphicerus (38); duiker, filed under cephalophus (39);
reedbuck, filed under redunca (40); hartebeest filed under bubalis (41, 52-53); wildebeest, filed under gorgon (42); bushbuck, filed under tragelaphus (49-51, 99); kobus,
filed under kobus 54-57, 62, 64-74) and redunca (63); oribi (58-61); giraffe (75-79); leopard (86-89) and hyaena (90-98, 100).
Book D: Mammal photographs and negatives including elephant (1-20, 64, 69-95, 98); monkey, filed under primates (21, 51-52); jackal, filed under canis (22-24); leopard
(25-27); bush pig (28-32); steinbok, filed under raphicerus (33, 37); oryx (34-36, 38, 63); gazelle (39-41, 53); buffalo, filed under bos caffer (42-44); eland, filed under
tarotragus (45-50, 99); topi, filed under damaliscus (54-56); hyaena (57-62); bushbuck, filed under tragelaphus (65-68); lion, filed under felis (96-97) and pedates (100).
Book E: Mammal photographs and negatives including kobus (1-15); rhinoceros (16-50, 87-89, 93); leopard (51-57); bushbuck, filed under tragela hus (58-60); hartebeest,
filed under bubalis (61-64); roan, filed under kobus (65-71); hippopotamus (72-78, 85-86); giraffe (79-84); zebra (90, 100); lion, filed under felis (91, 94-96), topi, filed
under damaliscus (92); lycaon (97-98) and sewal cat (99).
Negatives and prints missing: B - 4, 23a; C - 97, 100; D - 63, 64; E - 34, 47, 73-74, 77, 91
The second group includes those photographs whose negatives are not found in any of the negative books or which have no negatives. Included in this category are prints
of mammals not in the alphabetical file, other animal life, flora, photographs taken en route from New York to Mombasa, localities, activities and African peoples along the
expedition route and some of the photographs used in the Scribner's Magazine articles. Where negatives are available, their location is noted in the folder list.
The final group of photographs is a file of prints whose negatives are found in negative books, F-G and K-M or in Matographic Services files. The prints are arranged in
the order in which the negatives are arranged in the books and a general list of the contents follows. Again, a detailed list is available in each book.
Books F-G: Photographs and negatives of various subjects including flora, bird life, reptiles and lion hunt.
Books K-M: Photographs and negatives of various subjects including animals; camps and stations; participants on the expedition including Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Alfred
Pease, Mr. and Mrs. Percival, porters, guides and gun boys; African tribes met along the way including the Kikuyu, Shilluck and Meru and localities along the expedition route
including Mombasa, Kapiti Station, Londiani, Simba, Kibweza, Nairobi, Kivaheri, Nijeri, Naivasha, Bondoni, Mount Kenia, Kenya Lake, Meru, Sotik, Hoima, Kilima Kui, Loita Plains,
Nyeri, Guas Ngishu, Entebbe, Uganda, Lado Enclave, Mongalla, Kikandwo, Kisimbiri, Kiiabe Station, Butiaba, Wadelai and the Nile River.