09/15/2015 Roy C. Andrews: The Real-Life Indiana Jones

We love authenticity.

It's what drive Cardenas Hats to design hand-crafted cowboy hats with quality builds that satisfies both form and function.

It's also what has been fueling our search for authentic images of cowboys from years past.



Some examples we found of real-life cowboys. Posted on the Cardenas Hats Facebook page.

So imagine our surprise when our excavation for authenticity dug up what could only be described as the real-life Indiana Jones — Roy Chapman Andrews!

R.C. Andrews began his career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in 1906 as part of the custodial staff, sweeping floors in the taxidermy department. He accepted because he was determined to work in the museum, but there were no other positions available.


Andrews continued working as a janitor while securing his Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University. By 1909, he would be working as an explorer for the museum. Less than 15 years from that, he'd be the museum’s director.


Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions he led to the Gobi of Mongolia from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan.


Just how fantastic could the life of this adventurer have had? Let's run down this abridged list:  


      » survived encounters with armed bandits;

      » led desert expeditions into previously unexplored territory;  

      » discovered the first nest of dinosaur egg fossils and evidence of mammalian co-existence with dinosaurs;

      » battled venomous pythons and hungry arctic orcas — not kidding!


And you're not a celebrity, let alone a full-time celebrity, without the occasional false report of death. Which happened to Andrews. Twice.

The world's first dinosaur egg, as discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews — with his gun, because you just never know!

The storied history of Roy Chapman Andrews reads just like an Indiana Jones movie, from foreign locales and political upheavals, to damsels in distress and too-close-for-comfort escapes! And while he had neither fedora nor whip like Indiana Jones had, he would hardly dare go on an expedition without his revolver and trusty ranger hat!


Spielberg and Lucas have never mentioned Andrews was the basis for everyone's favorite Nazi-punching archaeologist and there are several other historic figures in the running — we're looking at you, Lt. Colonel Percival Harrison Fawcet!

Roy Chapman Andrews — defiant in the face of potential danger.

But it's clear that Roy Chapman Andrews was one of many real-life swashbuckling inspirations for a generation of kids who would grow up to write the pulp/adventure films of the 1940s and 1950s, which in turn inspired filmmakers such as Speilberg and Lucas.


Want to read more about Roy Chapman Andrews? Check out the Roy Chapman Andrews Society!