Beloit College
Banner Image

Roy Chapman Andrews

Obituary from The Beloit Daily News (Monday June 6, 1960):

     Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews, a Beloiter who gained world fame as an explorer, zoologist, naturalist and author, died of a heart attack Friday night in Carmel, Calif. He was 76.

     The retired former director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York died in Monterey Peninsula community hospital. He lived in nearby Carmel Valley for the past five years.

Received Many Awards

     A prolific writer, he was the recipient of national and international awards and medals and was named to numerous honorary organizations. He was regarded as an author who wrote as eloquently of housecats as he did of whales and dinosaurs.

     The son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Andrews was born here Jan. 26, 1884. He collected birds and animals and learned taxidermy at the age of 14. He graduated from Beloit Academy in 1902 and from the college four years later. Mr. Andrews was regarded as the college's most famous graduate.

     Soon after graduation from college, he went to New York and started an affiliation with the museum as a sweeper. His knowledge and interest in museum work quickly landed himself a staff position. He took a master's degree at Columbia University in 1913.

Brought Back Dinosaur Eggs

     Dr. Andrews' first work was with whales, which he studied off the Pacific coast and in the Alaskan waters. He later traveled through Indonesia and North Korea. While on the Manchurian border, he conceived the idea of a series of expeditions to central Asia under the sponsorship of the museum.

     He probably gained his greatest fame for bringing back the first known dinosaur eggs in 1933. Prior to that time, it was not known dinosaurs laid eggs. Dr. Andrews gave the college plaster casts of his findings.

     On his trips, described as the biggest and most spectacular scientific expeditions any American had led up to the time, Dr. Andrews collected vast quantities of prehistoric remains. Among them was a complete skeleton of the giant cousin of the rhinoceros, the baluchitherium regarded as the largest mammal ever to walk the earth.

     A frequent visitor to Beloit, Dr. Andrews received an honorary doctor of science degree from the college in 1928. When the college sponsored expeditions to North Africa in the early 1930s, he and his former professor, George L. Collie, had long academic disputes on the place of man's origin. Dr. Andrews claimed man originated in North Africa. The dispute was never settled.

     Dr. Andrews led numerous expeditions to the Gobi desert in the late 1920s-early 1930s.

     He was the director of the American museum from 1935 to 1942. Upon his retirement he settled in Colebrook, Conn., where he spent time writing.

     His last book revolving from his studies, Meet Your Ancestors, was published in 1945. He gave the college his manuscript in 1956, when his class observed its 50th reunion. Dr. Andrews' autobiography, An Explorer Comes Home, was published in 1947. He also held an honorary degree from Brown University.

     Surviving Dr. Andrews are his second wife, the former Wilhelmenia Anderson Christmas, whom he married in 1935, and two sons by his first wife, George Borup and Roy Kevin Andrews. His first marriage, to Yvette Borup in 1914, ended in divorce 17 years later.

 

Fridays with Fred
In 1905, a year prior to his graduation from Beloit College, Andrews was involved in a boating accident on Rock River that nearly took his life. Read more in archivist Fred Burwell's article about the tragic event.

Examples of Archives Holdings:
       - Biography data
       - Bibliography
       - Correspondence
       - Original manuscripts
       - Photographs
       - Publications
       - Writings on