Great Explorations
Exhibit for the University of Michigan Graduate Library, December 2005

Founding Fathers

Great Explorations


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The early explorations documented botany, zoology, and geology as well as Native American tribes. Naturalists accompanied the Army topographers seeking various routes for the transcontinental railroad, 1853-55.

Their reports appeared as Document 758-768 (33rd Congress, 2d Session, Senate Executive Document 78). They included colored plates of birds and a detailed description of the Ursus Horribilis (grizzy bear).

Commodore Matthew Perry left Norfolk in November 1852 to thaw Japanís isolationist policy. His itinerary included Madeira, St. Helena, Cape Town, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Okinawa.

In every port Perry and his officers wrote voluminously of peoples, customs, commerce and science. His expedition led to the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. A description of his journeys appears in Documents 802-804 (33rd Congress, 2d Session, House Executive Document 97).

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