Monthly Archives: October 2015

Roy Chapman Andrews, inspiration for Indiana Jones

Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) was an American explorer, adventurer, naturalist, and paleontologist.

In high school, he taught himself taxidermy and was great marksman.He went to Beloit College, not far from his birthplace. His taxidermy helped pay for his tuition in Beloit.

He applied to American Museum of Natural History in NYC. Was turned down, but he wanted to be there so bad, he took a janitor’s job at the taxidermy dept. He collected specimens for the dept.

Roy Chapman Andrews earned his Master of Arts at Columbia University in Mammology.1909-10, he sailed for East Indies collecting snakes and lizards. He, also, observed the sea mammals.

1913- He went to the Artic to get Bowhead whale, but ending up filming seals instead.

He married Yvette Borup in 1914.

1916-17, he and his wife went under auspices of Asiatic Zoology Expedition for the museum in western and southern Yunnan Province of China.

In 1920, he went to Mongolia and the Gobi Desert. He was searching for fossils.

1922- he found a fossil of Baluchtherium, a huge hornless Rhinoceros west of Peking. He went on to look for origins of Man (convinced modern man came from Mongolia). He found no fossilized human bones, but found dinosaur bones and fossilized Protoceratop eggs ( later, they turn out to be Velociraptors. He discovered Pinacosaurus,  Sauromithoids, Oviraptors, Velociraptors, and Andrewsarchus( named after him).

He found fossilized mammals, but no humans. He was convinced, though, that man came from Mongolia.

He stayed in Mongolia from 1922-28.

Andrews made a final trip to Mongolia in 1930.He found Mastodon bones. That same year, he divorced his wife. They had two sons.

Back in 1908, he joined the Explorers’ Club and served as its president  in 1931-34.

In 1927, he was honorary Boy Scout.

In 1934, he became director of the American Museum. He retired in 1942 and lived rest of his life at Carmel by the Sea, California.

Some say he was the inspiration for Indiana Jones.Also, Col Percy Fawcett.


Sir Richard Francis Burton, the explorer not the actor

Sir Richard Burton  was born 1821 and died in 1890. He was an British explorer. Not only that, he was a geographer, translator( he spoke 29 languages fluently), writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, and diplomat. He explored unknown areas in Africa, Asia, and South America that no white man been there before.

He was born in Torquey, Devon, England. His father was Lt. Col. Joseph Netterville Burton of 36th Regiment.

The Burton traveled a lot. Burton had an affair with a gypsy woman.From her, he learned Romani, the language of the gypsies.

He went to Oxford. He spent time learning fencing and falconry.

He enlisted in East India Co.He fought in the First Afghan War. He went on to Bombay, India.He learned various Indian languages.He also learned Persian and Arabic. He gone so native, his fellow soldier called him, “The White Nigger.”

He tamed monkeys.

Burton learned surveying while in Bombay.He worked as a spy, disguising himself as an Arab named  Mirza Abdullah. He spied on British soldiers who went to male brothels.His detailed report made some accused him of homosexuality.

He returned to England on sick leave,Wrote his first book on Goa, India. He traveled to Bologne, Franc where he met his future wife Isabell Arundell.

He joined the British Royal Geographical Society. He went back to explore India and Arabia. He studied Islam so well,he was able to join a Hajj to Mecca. The last European to do that was Ludovicia di Varthema in 1503.He wrote about the Hajj.He went on to Somalia. From there he went to Ethiopia.

Then he went and fought in The Crimean War.

Richard Burton went on to explore African Great Lakes: Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, and Lake Tanganyika.He discovered the source of the Nile.His accounts helped David Livingston and Henry Stanley. He went on the Congo River and found Them Mountains of the Moon.

Then, he went to Brazil.

He translated Kama Sutra, 1,001 Nights, and The Perfumed Garden.

Wlliam Morris, Victorian Renaissance Man

William Morris(1834-1896) was an Englishman who was a textile designer, poet, fantasy novelist,translator, socialist, Pre-Raphaelite painter, architect. He started training as an architect. He helped established modern fantasy, which influenced Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Went to Oxford. He designed his own house, Red House.He learned to be interior decorator,fabrics,furniture, and stained glass windows. He created Kelmscott Manor from exiting old house.He translated Icelandic Sagas with his friend Erick Magnusson after a visit to Iceland.

He created Society of Protection of Ancient Buildings, because of his obsession with Medieval times. He was a non-violent Luddite, fighting against modern industrial age.

From Kelmscott Manor, he self-published using his own press Kelmscott Press. He read Charles Kingsley,George MacDonald,Walter Scott,Thomas Carlyle,Lord Tennyson, Shakespeare, John Ruskin, John Keats, Thomas Maloy, and Robert Browning.

He was a pacifist and  supporter of Alfred Russel Wallace, the naturalist.He became friends with George Bernard Shaw. Also, Peter Kroptkin and Frederick Engels.His designs on wallpaper became popular in Victorian England.