Sterling Clark may have begun planning for the expedition while he was still an army officer, but his efforts accelerated in 1905 and 1906, when he purchased field equipment (principally in London) and began depositing funds for the journey in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. By autumn 1907, he had begun assembling an international team to join him on the trek. In Paris, he engaged Nathaniel Cobb, a college friend of Clark’s younger brother Stephen, as expedition artist. In India, he hired Hazrat Ali, a fifteen-year veteran of the Royal Survey of India. Three Britons joined the team in China: Captain H. E. M. Douglas of the Royal Army Medical Corps as the team’s physician, meteorologist, and entomologist; G. A. Grant as translator and general manager; and Arthur de Carle Sowerby as naturalist. Their intention was to create a detailed topographical map of the expedition route, study the animals native to the region, and collect meteorological and geological data.

An expedition camp, Zhaozhuang, near Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, 1908, Smithsonian Institution Archives Image # 2008-3031; Map of Clark Expedition route, Northern China, 1908-9
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