These papers document the multi-faceted career of Arthur deC. Sowerby, especially his work as a naturalist and expedition member. They include correspondence, including
a large amount with Robert Sterling Clark; fiscal records; material relating to his genealogical research and "The Sowerby Saga;" manuscripts, newspaper articles, and research
notes, written by Sowerby; photographs and lantern slides; the papers of his third wife, Alice Muriel Cowans Sowerby; paintings, sketches, and poetry; and a notebook, a diary,
and an autobiographical memoir.
Arthur deC. Sowerby (1885-1954), naturalist, explorer, artist, and editor was born in Tai-yuan Fu, Shansi province, China, where his father served as a British Baptist
missionary. After a brief stay at Bristol University, England, Sowerby returned to China and began collecting specimens for the Natural History Museum in Tai-yuan Fu. In 1906,
he was appointed to the staff of the Anglo-Chinese College at Tientsin as lecturer and curator of the Natural History Museum. He was a member of an expedition to the Ordos
Desert in southern Mongolia in 1907, where he collected mammals for the British Museum (Natural History). In 1908, Sowerby joined American millionaire Robert Sterling Clark
on an expedition into Shansi and Kansu provinces of north China. This began a long association with Clark who financed several collecting trips by Sowerby. Many of the specimens
collected by the Clark-Sowerby expeditions were deposited in the United States National Museum. During the Chinese Revolution of 1911, Sowerby led a relief mission to evacuate
foreign missionaries in Shensi and Sianfu provinces. During World War I, Sowerby served in France as Technical Officer in the Chinese Labour Corps. After the war, he settled
in Shanghai and established The China Journal of Science and Arts, which he edited until the outbreak of World War II in 1941. During the war, Sowerby was interned
by the Japanese Army in Shanghai. He came to the United States in 1949 and spent the remainder of his life in Washington, D.C. pursuing genealogical research which resulted
in a family history, "The Sowerby Saga."
This series consists of photographs and lantern slides taken and collected by Arthur deC. Sowerby. Much of the material documents Sowerby's career in China and includes
photographs taken on expeditions; pictures of Sowerby and his family; various scenes depicting twentieth century China and Chinese culture; and many photographs of Chinese
fauna. Many of the photographs were used in the publication of The China Journal. Also included are lantern slides of American Indians, particularly southwestern tribes.
The photographs are arranged alphabetically.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7263, Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers