“I couldn’t help it. I happen to have been born to do it.

I am sure that I would have been a rotten failure doing anything else.”

~ Ends Of The Earth ~

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Collecting Roy Chapman Andrews. Part 5 ~ Conclusion

My tent at Byan Dzag [ Flaming Cliffs ].  Photo. by Clive Coy

Over the course of his life Andrews was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including,  the Elisha Kent Kane Gold Medal of the Philadelphia Geographical Society [1929], the Hubbard Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society [1931],  the Explorers’ Gold Medal [1932], and  the Charles P. Daly Gold Medal of the American Geographical Society [1936].  Honorary Sc. D. degrees were conferred on him by Brown University [1926], and by Beloit College [1928].  
Elisha Kent Kane Medal.  Photo by Clive Coy.

In recognition of his qualities as organiser and leader, Andrews has eleven animals, fossil and living, named in his honour by ten separate researchers between 1911 and 1981, including one by a Soviet palaeontologist. Contrary to popular belief, scientists do not name new discoveries after themselves, and even in today’s jaded world it is still considered  an honour to have new discoveries named in recognition of the discoverer.
            Still writing books, and corresponding with admirers around the world, Andrews made his last and longest journey on March 11, 1960.  His passing was reported on the front-page of major newspapers, and from the world came tributes to “one of the greatest naturalists and zoologists of the 20th century”.  “Roy Chapman Andrews was one of the truly fortunate men who know exactly what they want to do in the world.”, reported the New York Times.  Inexplicably, the institution that he had worked so hard for made no mention of his passing in the yearly report or popular magazine that Andrews himself  had written 24 articles for.

Andrews, Colebrook,  Conn., 1953.  Hunting license pinned to his Fedora.

            Filled with a thirst for life, Andrews lived it to the fullest.  He had a restless spirit, an exuberant personality, a determined will, and limitless energy.  Fieldwork and exploration, not paper work, consumed him.  Not content merely to see the world, he wanted to know its closely kept secrets.  For three decades he was the popular ideal of the romantic explorer, combining scientific ability and the capacity to direct major expeditions with the showmanship necessary to obtain publicity and financial support.
            Expeditions to Northern China and Mongolia conducted by the Russians, Chinese, Poles, Canadians, Japanese,  and Americans owe much to the pioneering work of Roy Chapman Andrews, whose significance lies both in his own findings and in the international attention he drew to the role and value of the explorer-naturalist and the modern interdisciplinary scientific expedition.

An Informal Checklist of Books
Publication statistics for Andrews’ books appear to be undocumented.  Several of his publishers have ceased to exist, or have not retained records from the periods involved.  The later children’s books are not difficult to obtain, although as in almost all juvenile literature, condition is a common problem.  Books published previous to 1929 are scarce in even very good condition, and dust wrappers for the first three books are very uncommon.
[NF] nonfiction; [F] fiction; [NF - J] nonfiction juvenile; [F - J] fiction juvenile

1. Whale Hunting With Gun And Camera [NF]
 NY;  D. Appleton and Company, 1916

2. Camps And Trails In China  [NF]
NY;  D. Appleton and Company, 1918

3. Across Mongolian Plains  [NF]
NY;  D. Appleton and Company, 1921

4. On The Trail Of Ancient Man [NF]
NY;  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1926

5. Ends Of The Earth  [NF]
1929  G. P. Putnam’s Sons New York / London

6. The New Conquest Of Central Asia  [NF]
NY;  American Museum of Natural History New York / G. P. Putnam’s Sons,  1932

7. This Business Of Exploring [NF]
NY;  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935

8. Exploring With Andrews [NF - J]
NY;  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938

9. This Amazing Planet [NF]
NY; G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940

10. Under A Lucky Star [NF]
NY;  The Viking Press, 1943

11. Meet Your Ancestors [NF]
NY; The Viking Press, 1945

12. An Explorer Comes Home [NF]
NY;  Doubleday and Company, 1947

13. My Favorite Stories Of The Great Outdoors [NF]
NY; Greystone Press, 1950

14. Quest In The Desert [F - J]
NY;  The Viking Press, 1950

15. Heart Of Asia [NF]
NY; Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1951

16. Nature’s Ways  [NF]
NY; Crown Publishers, 1951

17. All About Dinosaurs {NF- J]
NY; Random House, 1953

18. All About Whales [NF - J]
NY;  Random House, 1954

19. Beyond Adventure [NF]
Boston / Toronto;  Duell, Sloan and Pearce / Little Brown and Company, 1954

20. Quest Of The Snow Leopard [F - J]
NY;  The Viking Press, 1955

21. All About Strange Beasts Of The Past [NF - J]
NY;  Random House, 1956

22. In The Days Of The Dinosaurs [NF - J]
NY;  Random House, 1959

Monday, February 21, 2011

Roy Chapman Andrews Society

I have been remiss in not placing a link to The Roy Chapman Andrews Society on my Blog.  This group based in Roy's hometown of Beloit, Wisconsin are dedicated to perpetuating the name and achievements of one of Beloit's most famous native sons.  Their new website contains interesting video clips,  a photo of RCA's childhood home, and a walking map of Beloit and points of interest related to Andrews, as well as the multifacted activities of the Society.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Collecting Roy Chapman Andrews Part 4

         Barkan dune at Tugrikin Shire, Outer Mongolia.  By Clive Coy

   During the late twenties field work in Mongolia became dangerous, and civil war combined with the overt actions of  Imperial Japan within China made further exploration impossible.  With great reluctance the members of the 1930 field season returned home to the United States certain they would never be able to return.  Andrews remained behind at the expeditions headquarters in Peking, spending his time paying the expeditions accounts, selling the camel caravan, vehicles and equipment.  It was during this period that Yvette divorced Andrews, citing abandonment. Civil war and banditry had made it unsafe for Yvette and her two young sons  to follow Andrews into the field after 1920.  Andrews had  allowed himself to become consumed by the needs of the expedition and had lost  both emotional and physical contact with his family.
            During a cold and solitary Peking winter Andrews finished what is arguably the single greatest undertaking of his writing career; The New Conquest Of Central Asia.  Published as volume one, it was third in a series that  were originally conceived as a twelve volume set of which only seven were ever published. 

First Edition.  1932.  In original dust jacket

Now highly prized by collectors, the bulk of the imposing seven pound volume is the official narrative of the expeditions that gives a comprehensive review of the accomplishments as a whole, and reviews problems raised by their discoveries. The photographs are numerous, and the panoramic fold out plates are of such high quality that they would cost a fortune to reproduce today.  So comprehensive and wide ranging was the work of the C.A.E. that the seven completed volumes became standard works on the geology, recent animals, fish, and palaeontology of Mongolia and China.  Never before had an American non-military overseas expedition made so many  major discoveries in so short a time.  The most important  scientific discoveries were quickly published by Osborn, Matthew, and Granger.  However, the enormous collections outran the available research and publication facilities of the Museum and even now, eighty-one years later, their preparation and study are ongoing. 
            Andrews returned to New York; and after more than 23 years of continual field work his exploring days were over.    On February 21, 1935, he married Wilhelmina [“Billy”] Anderson Christmas, and Andrews began to rebuild his life in busy, noisy New York.    
Andrews and 'Billy' in Seattle, boarding the train to New York
upon returning from Honeymoon trip to Asia.  1936.

Andrews capped his career at the American Museum of Natural History as vice-director [1931 - 34] and director [1935 - 42].   In addition to his new museum duties, he continued to promote the need for exploration in  numerous popular articles, and  books; with Ends Of The Earth, his first autobiography, printed in serial form by Saturday Evening Post prior to being released by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  Trying his hand at radio, Andrews also presented a popular series entitled “New Horizons” on the Columbia Network during the late 1930’s.  Andrews had contributed to exploring and filling in the last “unknown” corners of the globe, and  he realised that exploration of the future would be very different from that of his own youth. 

Andrews as Director of AMNH, beneath portrait of his patron, mentor and friend, Henry Fairfield Osborn.

            As early as 1932, Andrews observed;  “To study these little-known areas, to reveal the history of their making and interpret that history to the world today, to learn what they can give in education, culture and for human welfare - that is the exploration of the future!”. Consequently, he began to write books  specifically for young readers in the hope that it would encourage them to pick up the torch .  This Business Of Exploring, and Exploring With Andrews  influenced a generation of young readers, some of  whom became today’s leading palaeontologists and zoologists.  

First Edition.  G. P. Putnam's Sons.  1935

First Edition.  G. P. Putnam's Sons.  1938.

            Inevitably, the steady diet of routine administration irked  Andrews, who had always preferred outside to indoors,  and a  tent to a boardroom.  During the late 30’s and early 40’s the museum faced hard times caused by the national economic crisis, low public attendance, and a sharp decline in philanthropic donations.  Bean-counting museum administrators questioned Andrews’ abilities to guide the ailing museum through the hard economic times, even going as far as to call for Andrews’ dismissal.  Hurt and disheartened; wishing to close his career at the museum with honour and dignity;  Andrews chose to resign,  and at the end of 1941, although still robust and only 57, he retired.
            Andrews lived  for a time in Connecticut, moved later to Arizona, and eventually settled in Carmel, California.  In retirement he wrote another 13 best-selling books that include his second autobiography, Under A Lucky Star, and two fictional accounts of his early exploration days, Quest In The Desert, and Quest Of The Snow Leopard.  

First Edition.  Viking Press. 1943.

Reprint.  Blue Ribbon Books. 1945.

Aimed at young readers the two novels drew on his experiences leading expeditions; and introduce the hero of both books,  Jack Benton, a character based loosely on Andrews himself.  The action packed novels cleverly instruct young readers on what it takes to put an expedition into the field, from purchasing supplies to dealing with bandits. 

First Edition.  The Viking Press. 1950

First Edition.  The Viking Press. 1955.

            Much loved and now difficult to find in even reasonable condition are Andrews’ three books for the All About series by Random House;  All About Dinosaurs, All About Whales, and All About Strange Beasts Of The Past.  Authoritative children’s books on prehistoric animals were rare prior to the 1950’s, and this trio of books illustrated by the talented Thomas Voter, and Matthew Kalmenoff,  influenced school science reports and the daydreams of several generations of  young readers. 

First Edition.  Random House. 1953

First Edition.  Random House.  1954.

First Edition.  Random House. 1956

            Andrews also tried his hand at fiction for adults; most notably  Heart Of Asia, a collection of twelve tales of life in Asia.  Andrews asserted that the ripping yarns were true as he experienced them or were told to him by others.  Among the tales were a dog who lived for vengeance; the predations of a phantom Blue Tiger; and a bandit who paid a debt with the hearts of his wife and child. 

 First Edition.  Duell, Sloan & Pearce.  1951.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Collecting Roy Chapman Andrews Part 3

Typical Gobi road, Outer Mongolia.  Photo by Clive Coy.

Mongolia had captivated Andrews, and he became obsessed with the idea of exploring the largely unmapped and mysterious country for the scientific treasures he was sure were buried there.  Despite critics who said that he might as well search the bottom of the ocean, Andrews together with palaeontologist Walter Granger, led five major expeditions in 1922, 1923, 1925, 1928, and 1930  to Northern China and Mongolia, which were commonly referred to as the Third Central Asiatic Expeditions.  The C.A.E.  heralded a new type of multidisciplinary exploration, with  representatives from eight fields of investigation: geography, topography, geology, palaeontology, zoology, archaeology, paleobotany, and herpetology.  These expeditions were the largest non-military ventures to leave the United States until that time; often operating with forty scientists and technicians, eight motorcars, and 150 camels.

Third Asiatic Expedition's Vehicles : 
The original unmodified Dodge Touring Cars, 
and Fulton One Ton Trucks

            Although the expeditions did not discover  early humans, they made major scientific findings that established Asia as one of the chief dispersal centres of animal life.  They uncovered implements dating back 20,000 years, evidence that the Gobi had been inhabited by people who may have later migrated to China, Siberia, and North America.  Their geological findings confirmed that Outer Mongolia had never been glaciated and was the oldest area on earth of continuously dry land.   The rich fossil fields that they discovered produced the first evidence of dinosaurs in Asia north of the Himalayas.  They yielded specimens of  tiny early mammals; the largest mammalian carnivore; skulls and other fragments of the largest mammal known to have existed on land; and  a genus of rhinoceros called Baluchitherium, which lived about thirty million years ago, stood eighteen feet high, and weighed twenty tons.
            The most spectacular discovery, for which Andrews and the expeditions became world-famous, was of three nests containing two dozen dinosaur eggs, the first recorded by science.  Discovered in the Gobi in 1923 and pictured in newspapers and magazines around the world, the nine-inch-long eggs had been nearly perfectly preserved. 

Original 1923 Photograph of Dinosaur Eggs found by George Olsen at Flaming Cliffs locality [Byan Dzag] 
Photo: James Barnes Shackelford, Expedition photographer.
            Popular culture has incorrectly attributed Andrews as discovering the eggs.  It was in fact technician George Olsen, an error that Andrews himself was always quick to correct in his books, and lectures.  Nonetheless,  Andrews was responsible for much of the success of  the logistical work and fund raising for these expeditions.  He conceived them, raised the funds, led them through the perils of banditry in Mongolia, revolution and civil war in China; and was adept at obtaining publicity, and achieving prompt publication of findings. Andrews wrote the preponderance of popular literature about the expeditions, but always shared the credit for its success with all members of the expedition. 
            Public demand for information about the expeditions was nearing hysteria by the mid 1920’s.  Newspaper reporters mobbed the ship when members of the expedition returned to New York via San Francisco between expeditions.  Offers reaching thousands of dollars were made for exclusive rights to pictures and stories, but Andrews refused them all, freely giving interviews to as many reporters as he and his staff could schedule.  However, one publisher did have first rights for magazine stories by Andrews, and all photographs taken by the expedition; an incredible arrangement agreed to in the early years of fund raising. 
            Asia Magazine, the official publication of the American Asiatic Association,  was the premiere American magazine devoted to an area that in the 20’s  overshadowed Europe as a popular travel destination.  Catering to wealthy travellers, Asia Magazine reached its zenith during the late 1920’s,  publishing articles by authors such as Pearl S. Buck, and Franklin D. Roosevelt; with cover art  by Frank M. McIntosh.  Liberally illustrated with photographs fresh from the expeditions’ cameras,  Andrews published a total of 25  lengthy articles between 1918 and 1926.  These articles detailed the triumphs and tribulations of the expedition; but most importantly allowed Andrews to reach his prime target audience, the wealthy elite with disposable money to fund such grand adventures. 

Dust jacket of First Edition. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1926

            By 1926 Andrews was deluged with letters from the public requesting a collected account of the expedition’s activities to date.   On The Trail Of Ancient Man was published as a popular narrative in direct response to these requests.  Much of the text of the book was written on the spot and preserves the atmosphere and excitement of the expedition that was pushing beyond the boundaries of contemporary exploration.  An examination of Andrews original field diaries revealed that in the early years his daily entries are sketchy reference notes; but by 1923 the entries have become volumous detailed narratives that required only minor polishing before becoming magazine articles and book chapters.  On The Trail Of Ancient Man also marked the beginning of Andrews’ association with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a relationship that produced a total of  six books by 1940.  

Reprint.  Undated [Circa 1930] Garden City Publishing Co., Inc.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Collecting Roy Chapman Andrews Part 2

 By the time his first book was published Andrews was already deeply immersed in preliminary land exploration in Asia. No longer content to work in an office or laboratory most of the year, Andrews developed a desire to do field work and exploration, away from the modern city, preferably somewhere little known. With the support of Henry Fairfield Osborn, then director of the Museum, funds from financial giants like J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller were forthcoming. Assisted further by monies raised personally through public lectures, Andrews led a series of expeditions to Asia. Yvette Andrews recorded the expeditions in both still photographs [including some of the earliest colour] and motion pictures.

In recognition of his ability he was appointed director of the museum’s First Asiatic Expedition to Tibet, south-west China, and Burma. This general stocktaking expedition on the edge of the Central Asian plateau was the first of a series of such expeditions directed by Andrews to gain information by which to guide more extensive explorations planned for the future. Appleton’s earlier gamble would be amply rewarded with Andrews’ next two books;
Camps And Trails In China, and Across Mongolian Plains.

First Edition D. Appleton & Co. 1918
Gilt Stamped on Cloth.

The infectiously enthusiastic
Camps And Trails In China, co-authored and illustrated by Yvette, is a rich narrative of travel and hunting while traversing southern China, Vietnam, and Burma, at that time part of the Chinese Empire. Although technical in some areas, scientific reporting was avoided. Success of this book can be measured by its subsequent reprintings [1919, 1920, 1925,] at a time when first-hand accounts of the Great War, and the puerile novels of Harold Bell Wright were best sellers for Appleton. Both books have now become widely available as print on demand monstrosities, often at higher prices for a poorly bound photocopy, than a decent reading copy of the original edition.

Dust jacket of First Edition.  D. Appleton & Co. 1921

First Edition D. Appleton & Co.  1921
Gilt stamped on cloth

Across Mongolian Plains Andrews succeeds in communicating the “boyish” excitement that animated him as he rode and motored over Northern China and Mongolia, an explorer in a strange place among strange peoples. Despite only sparse illustration, and use of the first person pronoun up to a dozen times per page, the exuberant narrative written from a sportsman’s view point sold well. 

Blue Ribbon Books Reprint.  Undated [Ca. 1930]
Blue Ink stamped on Buckram

However, Appleton’s was now moving towards fiction by authors like Zona Gale and Edith Wharton, and published only the first edition of this last project with Andrews. 

Dust Jacket of Blue Ribbon Books Reprint.  Undated [Ca. 1930]

Subsequent reprintings were handed to Blue Ribbon Books, and Garden City Publishing, initiating a trend that continued into the 1940’s after first editions by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Viking Press. 

During this period of initial exploration into Asia he became enamored of the theories of William Diller Matthew and HenryFairfield Osborn. Matthew, a renowned palaeontologist at the American Museum, regarded Central Asia as the centre of origin for most mammals, and Osborn believed that it would prove the birthplace of humans. To test these theories it would be necessary to find the fossil evidence.

Advertisement.  May 1921.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evolution, Extinction, Fossilization [Repeat]

A Link to this Andrews Comic from the 1940's can be found at Paleoblog

For News, Views, Reviews, and Overviews related to all things Palaeo ~ Check out  
Dr. Michael Ryan's Paleoblog, where he gives the latest news about paleontology, dinosaurs, paleobiology, and related arts and sciences [and has great imagery from Vintage comics and movies.]