The BLOSSOM, a 20,000-mi anthropological expedition sponsored by the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATIONAL HISTORY, was undertaken to make natural-history collections and surveys on the islands of the South Atlantic. Dr. Leonard Sanford, medical examiner for the Yale athletic teams, in 1922 proposed collecting specimens of the world's birds to be shared by museums everywhere and presented the idea to Paul Rea, then director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Elizabeth Bingham (Mrs. Dudley S.) Blossom, museum trustee, financed the voyage. The 3-masted sailing ship of the old-fashioned windjammer type was 109' long, weighed 103 tons, and had a 22' beam, smaller than Christopher Columbus's Santa Maria. The vessel, renamed the Blossom after its benefactor, sailed from New London, CT, on 29 Oct. 1923 with a crew of 18. After a stop at Gardiner's Bay, Long Island, for additional work on the ship, the expedition departed 10 Nov. 1923. Eight days later the ship encountered severe storms with winds up to 80-90 mph, which lasted 2 weeks. The Blossom reached the Cape Verde Islands on 10 Dec., and the crew began their collecting. At that time, the ship was 200 mi. off course, with no auxiliary power and its wireless dead. Back home, the Blossom was reported lost. Despite a troubled start, the expedition was successful, with stops including Dakar, Gambia, St. Helens, Ascension, and Trinidad. After its last stop in Rio, the Blossom sailed north, docking at Charleston, SC, 4 June 1926. The 2 1/ 2 year expedition cost $75,000 and resulted in the collection of 12,000 specimens, 4,000 photographs, and thousands of feet of film.

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