An African Expedition
An African Expedition
Cairo to Cape Town-1947-1949
Perfect Bound Softcover
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In the spring of 1946, World War II was over, and returning veterans were beginning to rebuild their lives. Bill Terry’s hitch in the Air Force was up, and as he was trying to figure out his future, along came the lovely Gladys Walland, who literally swept him off his feet. Six months later, they married. Then Wendell Phillips came into their lives with an offer of steady employment, new horizons, and all the adventure they could handle—in Africa. Wendell was the driving force behind the 1947-1949 University of California African Expedition, but Bill and Gladys Terry, it turned out, would be the ones doing most of the driving.


With little knowledge of the places they were about to go, the Terry’s headed to Cairo, Egypt, where they would manage an expedition that would cover more than 15,000 miles and eleven countries. It would bring together scientists from many disciplines—from archaeology to zoology. For more than two years, they assisted in historic discoveries while traveling the length of Africa. They worked with international notables, like biblical archaeologist William F. Albright of The Johns Hopkins University, and South African paleontologist Dr. Robert Broom, discoverer of the million year old early hominid Swartskrans Man.


An African Expedition offers a personal insiders view of history in the making. Told with humor and generously laced with priceless photographs, this is an adventure of a lifetime.

Preview coming soon.

William B. Terry (1921-2004) joined the U.S. Army Air Corps prior to the start of World War II, and was stationed at Hickham Field when he was awakened on December 7, 1941, by bombs exploding nearby. He grabbed his camera and ran to find the source of the sound. That was the beginning of his career as a field photographer. After the war, his training as a pilot, a mechanic and a photographer made him the perfect candidate to manage the University of California’s African Expedition.

Bill had a real ‘can do’ attitude about life. If there was a problem, he looked for creative solutions, and he usually found them. His attitude and approach to life made him very popular with some of the most powerful people associated with the expedition. Despite the fact that Bill had not graduated high school, these powerful individuals wrote him glowing letters of recommendation, which got him accepted at The Johns Hopkins University when the expedition was over. His plan was to become a doctor, but in the early 1950’s, his first-hand knowledge of the Middle East made him more valuable as a consultant than as a doctor.

He worked with Lowell Thomas on his Cinerama movie, Seven Wonders of the World, and later as a consultant in the burgeoning oil industry. Over the next 40 years, he made numerous trips to South America, Africa and the Middle East, and was well respected by heads of governments in many countries.

Gladys W. Terry, the daughter of a Norwegian lumber jack, lived in lumber camps in the forests of Southern Oregon as a girl. As if that weren’t enough training for her expedition years, when her father had vacation time, he would take the family ‘camping.’ From her earliest years, she learned how to live within one’s means, adapt quickly, and work efficiently.

In September 1941, she entered Pacific University, but when the war began, she decided to leave after a year and return home to work while attending business school. Later, she moved to San Francisco to work for the war effort. In her spare time, she took flying lessons. Her first job after the war was with Goodwin of California, where she met Bill Terry. Organized, resourceful, and independent, she was his perfect match.

Gladys wrote a journal during the expedition, making careful note of names, dates, locations, and events. Through the years, she managed to keep the journal safe, and the information it contains forms the basis of An African Expedition. She also became adept at photography, and her photographs have graced the pages of such publications as Colliers, National Geographic and Science Newsletter.

Lorraine Seeley Buell is the author of two books, If You Build It, They Will Come (Eckankar, 1992), a non-fiction about her experiences developing youth programs for her church; and Shipmates (Magic Image FilmBooks, 2000), which she co-authored with her father, Lewis E. Seeley, about his experiences aboard a World War II destroyer. She has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles that appeared in publications such as The Chicago Tribune and E-Magazine. She took the Terry’s ‘raw material’ and organized it into a narrative by Bill Terry.

What liberating knowledge. Give me libtery or give me death.

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