Please excuse our dust while we expand your museum! The Paul Brown Museum will be closed on Tuesday, February 19 due to construction. We appreciate your patience.

Robert Peet Skinner

Journey to Abyssinia: The Hidden Empire, page 7


Skinner’s journey was not an end but a beginning. His intuition and determination led to what some consider to be the most adventurous diplomatic mission in American History. The United States finally had a foothold on a continent dominated by the empires of old. Once news of the mission’s success reached home, America became fascinated with everything Abyssinian; no longer were its inhabitants “savages”, but they belonged to the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Before the expedition, the U.S. imported $800,000 worth of Abyssinian coffee. At the end of 1903, that number changed to $2.3 million. Skinner’s plan had been a success.  Skinner’s prerogative improved the economy of the United States and gained her a friend. Abyssinia no longer had to worry about attacks from the European powers, and in turn could focus on harvesting its rich natural resources.

Had it not been for Skinner’s tenacity and impeccable timing uniting with President Roosevelt’s yearning for adventure, the journey to Abyssinia may very well have never happened.  However, Abyssinia was only the beginning of Mr. Skinner’s distinguished career. He would later become the Ambassador of Greece and later Turkey, bringing back more artifacts and stories that reside in the Massillon Museum.

-Intern Justin Haynes, exhibit curator

Horatio Wales with Lion
Horatio Wales, Massillon native, is seen here with one of the two lions brought back as part of the U.S. Mission. Wales was put in charge of the lion’s care for the return journey.

Collection of the Massillon Museum
Gift of Mrs. Horatio W. Wales (58.80.7)

Abyssinian Man and Mule
An Abyssinian man travels with his mule on the return trip from Addis Ababa to

Collection of the Massillon Museum
Gift of Mrs. Horatio W. Wales (63.156.109)


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