The Saurian Expedition of 19051
In May and June of 1905, Annie Alexander participated in (and financed) a paleontological expedition to the West Humboldt Mountains in Nevada, exploring the Triassic limestones of the region. The expedition, under the auspices of Professor John C. Merriam and led by Geologicial Assistant Eustace Furlong, was a great success; portions of twenty-five specimens of ichthyosaur, including some of the largest in the world and the most complete ever found in North America (up to that time), were brought back to Berkeley.
Miss Alexander later wrote an account of it, illustrated with her own photographs (and some of Merriam’s), which is now in the UCMP archives. Annie’s account, a scrapbook, was probably presented to the museum following her death in 1950.2
For over a century, only a handful of researchers have had access to Alexander’s scrapbook, but the text has now been transcribed and the photographs scanned. These have been combined into a single document that can now be viewed online or downloaded:
In May of 2017, UCMP retiree David K. Smith made a trip to the West Humboldt Mountains to revisit the area explored by the Berkeley crew 112 years earlier. Smith has written a description of his adventure that contains a number of “then and now” photographs:
Seven people participated in the Saurian Expedition of 1905. Biographies on Alexander and Merriam already exist on this website (see links in first paragraph) but what about the others? Learn more about them:
A fairly large collection of Alexander correspondence and other related documents are held in the UCMP archives. See the online finding aid:
Some excerpts from Alexander’s scrapbook are presented here.
- Original page by Ben M. Waggoner, 7/96. Updated and modified by David K. Smith, 11/2017. All photos from Annie Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905 scrapbook, UCMP archives.
- A letter Alexander wrote to UCMP’s Ruben A. Stirton dated March 27, 1949, would suggest that she was still in possession of the scrapbook at that time. She told of a small reunion of the Saurian Expedition of 1905 participants: “I had my book of photos and Mrs. McDonald [Edna Wemple] read aloud my account of the trip and we had a grand time recalling incidents of the trip.”